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  • Album Reviews |


    Viva Hate 9 ( 1988 )
    Alsatian Cousin / Little Man, What Now? / Everyday Is Like Sunday / Bengali In Platforms / Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together / Late Night, Maudlin Street / Suedehead / Break Up The Family / Ordinary Boys / I Don't Mind If You Forget Me / Dial-A-Cliché / Margaret on the Guillotine

    "Trudging back over pebbles and sand".

    Sometimes an artist needs a different mind-set in order to appreciate them. A different approach. Oh, by all means, you can appreciate the solo work of former Smiths frontman Morrissey without ever having been suicidally depressed, but if you have been, it certainly helps. Is Morrissey music for 'sad' people? Quite possibly, but for those people, there is no other music like this. And, I put myself firmly in that camp. A different approach is required for this review. God, what am I? Some loser writing record reviews. Some guy who three times tried to commit suicide. Some guy that has three times fell deeply in love only to have his heart torn away like a Liverpool FC football supporter despairing at the lack of a championship title for the past eon, given the fact arch-enemies Man Utd have won everything. There is a guy stood right there -tall shoulders, fire in his heart, wearing a 'Beckham' haircut and a Roy Keane face. Taunting you, making you feel small. Does it matter? Fantastic rock guitar appears all over 'Alsatian Cousin' enough to make you forget Johnny Marr, in case you were mourning him.

    "Oh, but I remembered you"

    Strings, always glorious. Poetry, desolation. 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' and it makes you feel both sad and warm. It makes you feel as if someone understands the feeling of a dull, despairing Sunday evening spent every day of the week. It brings solace, and is a damn fine tune, to boot. 'Bengalli In Platforms' in typical Morrissey style, is provocative lyrically, so therefore matched to a jaunty happy singalong tune. Thought provoking. Strings return for 'Angel Angel' and they match the lyrical content - sparse, though the vocal is striking. 'Late Night Maudlin Street' is over seven minutes long. It's hilariously tragic and brilliant. 'Suedehead' is better than 90% of every song The Smiths ever wrote, in case you were wondering.

    "Why do you come here?"

    The second half of the album continues pretty strong. You know, 'Break Up The Family' is full of gorgeous singing for a start. "Ordinary boys, happy knowing nothing, happy being no one but themselves. "For you were so different, you stood all alone"

    'I Don't Mind If You Forget Me' is throwaway but features fun guitar, 'Dial A Cliché' isn't The Smiths, but it's fun and haunting the same. 'Margaret On The Guillotine' resonates to certain people as only a song about Margaret Thatcher can resonate and fill you with delight that someone is taking a swipe at the evil old bitch.

    "When will you die?"

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    Readers Comments

    Glenn MITCHELL glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    Hey dont try kill your self this sites like to cool to be stoped "Angel dont take your life tonight some people have got no pride" this is a very good effort but dosent really leave that dreary sound witch aint a bad thing on 'strange ways' most songs are very strong but i listen and thought when i first herd this i played it for weeks i mean mounths i just went back to it and to be hounest had not quite the same effect just to plain but does have that great part you no on break up the family "let me see all my old freinds let me put my arms around them cuz i really do love them" that always remides me of good times i had at school and brings a tear/ any way i would of given it a 10 but now a 9 from Aaron

    cammy b cammyb1964@aol.com
    ...was written in "homage" to Southend. Not until I worked in that place did quite realise how much Mozza captured the essence of Southend on a wet, winter's afternoon. Perhaps the greatest musical picture postcard of the last thirty years, a "Waterloo Sunset" of its time.

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    Bonadrag ( 1990 )
    Piccadilly palare / Interesting drug / November spawned a monster / Will never marry / Such a little thing makes such a big difference / Last of the famous international playboys / Ouija board ouija board / Hairdresser on fire / Everyday is like Sunday / He knows I'd love to see him / Yes I am blind / Lucky lisp / Suedehead / Disappointed

    "Yesterday, i'm not half the man I used to be". Nothing to do with Morrissey, more to do with myself. I had a certain sparkling manic insanity. I could throw words up in the air randomly and see where they fell. I had a burning desire to make something of myself. All of this has faded into nothing, of course. I'm still here, and given good company, still can raise the odd sparkle or two. Morrissey had difficulty recording a proposed follow-up to 'Viva Hate'. He ended up falling out with Producer/Co-Writer Stephen Street half way through the process. Singles were issued. More singles were issued written and recorded post the falling out. Eventually, so many singles had been issued 'BonaDrag' came into being. 'The Last Of The Famous International Playboys' just happened to be a particularly fine single, and the second ever Morrissey song I remember hearing ( the first had been 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' ). No less than Johnny Marr himself (!?) phoned our friend Morrissey to congratulate him on a fine job done. He called it 'a good-un' in his usual eloquent way. 'The Last Of The Famous International Playboys' features fine melodies and lyrics mentioning gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. When the song was played to a member of the kray twins he remarked 'I didn't care much for the tune, but I loved the words'. As well he might. 'Suedehead' and 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' are repeated here from 'Viva Hate'. We get the b-sides as well, the greatest of which is easily 'Hairdresser On Fire' - better than almost anything from 'Viva Hate' itself, stupidly. It still sends a shiver through my pretending to be sane spine, even today. A brilliant song. 'Will Never Marry' was another early Morrissey solo b-side. Puts most groups a-sides to shame, although this certainly isn't pop music. This is romantic desolation, loneliness, reaching out. "I'm writing this to say, in a gentle way, thank you but no...." A real reply apparently Morrissey had written to a certain fan-letter.

    'Interesting Drug' backed with 'Such A Little Thing' was the first ever Morrissey single I purchased. 7" vinyl, no less! I was intrigued utterly by the flip side, as they used to call it. I'm making myself sound old, aren't I? Whatever. I don't care about time. And hey, i'm not that old, i'm always thirteen, even though at the time of writing i'm twenty eight. A part of me remains stuck on the cusp, it never progressed, my heart never became full. "Most people keep their brains between their legs, don't you find?". A true word. There's a bunch of b-sides here where, quite frankly, Morrissey doesn't sound happy. He sounds so unhappy you want to give the guy a punch in the face, or a hug, depending on what sort of person you are. I fall into the latter category. "There must be something horribly wrong with me". A bunch of ex-smiths ( except Johnny, of course ) appear on a number of songs here. We also have a fine Morrissey single proper with 'November Spawned A Monster'. The video was famous for featuring Morrissey writhing in a desert on a rock. Lucky rock, I say. No, but seriously, of course Morrissey wasn't 'cool' around the time of this 'Bonadrag' release. He was practically a laughing stock. 'Bonadrag' meant the world to me. Inbetween listening to what eventually became severely watered down proto-type grunge and the likes of The Pixies - I was getting my emotional post to lean on from Morrissey. 'Bonadrag' is a fabulous collection of songs, plain and simple.

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    Glenn MITCHELL glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    Well what a cracker I never brought this after I herd most of the other solo stuff my word this rocks I love every mini sec of this sent from god piece of music it aint 'Queen is dead' but it is grand 'hair dresser on fire ' that’s so charming. And 'Ouija board ouija board' just is cool and I think special to moz i mean he spells out he,s name Steven . And one of his best 'such a little thing makes such a big difference' well it did to me "most people keep there heads between their legs these days2 so god dam true. And please leave him alone I want him to keep singing. i give a strong 10!!!!!! - from aaron

    Ben Granger ben.granger@ntlworld.com
    Just a quick point, a bit pedantic perhaps.....but Reggie Kray actually said just the opposite about TLOTFIP; "I liked the tune, but I thought the lyrics were somewhat lacking"......Good site mate

    Esteban Great Yarmouth
    I agree with you on these lyrics. I'm temporarily living in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and understand the meaning of this song so much. Moz captures the feeling of these coastal towns so perfectly and simply.... "the seaside town that they forgot to close down".... love the song and can't stop listening to it. Lyrics and music are brillant!!!

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    Kill Uncle ( 1991 )
    Our Frank / Asian Rut / Sing Your Life / Mute Witness / King Leer / Found Found Found / Driving Your Girlfriend Home / Harsh Truth Of The Camera Eye / I'm The End Of The Family Line / There's A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends

    'Kill Uncle' was, and still is, unfairly slammed by 'the critics'. Well, i'm a critic myself I guess! But, giving this a score of '7½' is probably still nearly twice as much as any 'professional' critic would allow this album. What really irritated me was the insistence that 'Bonadrag' had never existed, and that THREE YEARS (!!?) after 'Viva Hate' here was Morrissey presenting us with a tiny 32 minutes of new music? Yeah, but 'Bonadrag' does exist. It's real, it's a compilation, an album - whichever way you want to look at it. Morrissey had lost all of his previous collaborators but hooked up with former Madness producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley ( who had produced the 'Piccadilly Palare' single ) and also hired former Fairground Attraction 'main' man Mark E Nevin. The result is an incredibly English sounding album which just happens to have Morrissey humour, Morrissey poetics. It has a huge dose of Morrissey, so any fan of The Smiths out there should surely find something to like about this! Morrissey himself couldn't comprehend the way he was written about. After The Smiths had broken up, he admitted to carrying on doing 'the same old thing, I didn't change'. It's true! At least 60% of the magic of The Smiths, was Morrissey. His presence, ideas and lyrics. His voice. All of those things are all over 'Kill Uncle'. Yeah, the music isn't always great, yeah 'Asian Rut' is a dirge that was unfortunately misinterpreted lyrically as a racist song, which it isn't by the way. It's observation, political, sad and tragic. Magazines quoted Morrissey proclaiming 'Reggae is vile' and it all reached a head around the time of 'Your Arsenal'. Funnily enough, during a live performance at a Madness concert! Christ, Suggs himself had only sung backup on a couple of Morrissey singles! The producers of Madness produce this album! But, madness fans particularly didn't like Morrissey and his big English flag, even though Madness are one of the most 'english' sounding groups on earth. Novelty music, yes, but still English. I'm a huge fan of Reggae, by the way. Well, King Tubby, Bob Marley, Big Youth and more. It works for me, but I still love Morrissey. What gives?

    'Sing Your Life' and 'Our Frank' are fine singles, 'Mute Witness' is one of the finest Morrissey songs EVER! Stomping, roaring, funny and grin inducing. 'King Leer' is a little jazzy and very funny lyrically. 'Found Found Found' is rocky and with an obligatorily great set of Morrissey lyrics. 'Driving Your Girlfriend Home' is one of the most gorgeous Morrissey ballads, EVER! The next couple of songs are rather over-long and dreary, but the closing, snappily titled 'There's A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends' is just stupendous. Beautiful Piano, wonderful singing. Even those two 'dreary' ballads have wonderful singing, come to think of it. But, no - 'Kill Uncle' isn't the finest album known to man. But, it's still pretty fine, fine enough at least. "Your boyfriend, he displays to me more than just a hint of cruelty". "Oh, sing your life." "And when we go, we all will go, so you see i'm never alone". Piano rings out, truly like the sound of someone playing at a funeral. Funerals can be beautiful. Nobody died listening to 'Kill Uncle'.

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    Glenn MITCHELL glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    Yes this album i no i werent around at the time but the sites i went on slauted this album giving it a mere 2 out of five and one site a 1 out of five. Im a huge morrissey fan and this isnt even a bad album atall for a start 'sing your life' is a wonderfull song. And the divine story 'driving your girl freind home' my word is breath takeing ok some tracks arent the best but there better than most stuff the hits the charts like im not fond on 'our frank' to much litlle on the dire side of things but lyrics on 'king leer' are well funny and charming as is alwars our moz "I tried to serprise you with vodka or tizer i carnt quite remember but you never thanked me" Thats qulity thats all my verdict 71/2 pushing 8 (from Aaron)

    Aaron glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    I reviewd this a while ago but i have changed my mind this is the most under rated album ever i really can not understand how such a lyrically strong album can be so wrongly juged the musics good to the vocal had never sounded so sweet on one of his finest solo effots 'Sing your life' my god what a song the lyric "Make no mistake my freind your pointless life will end but before you go why don't you look at the truth" Ive found a new favroite lyric on 'KIng leer' " I tried to suprise you i lay down beside youand nothing much happend" that cracks me up but the iceing on the cake 'Harsh truth of the camera eye' "I dont want to be judged any more i would sooner be loved" That i blelive is so very personal to the God that is MOZ i GIVE 9/1/2

    Jamie Summers jamiesummers@dsl.pipex.com
    not that great an album. the problem is that the songwriting of the first half is good but the performance and production is arse. this is proved by the morrissey live in dallas dvd, where i first heard a bunch of these songs and was really impressed. then when i bought kill uncle i was disgusted by how shite they were in comparison. sing your life on that dvd is amazing. and king leer is pretty good too. as for the second half of the album...just so....so so. the last track two tracks are truly classic but doesnt make up for some of the other stuff.

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    Your Arsenal 9 ( 1992 )
    You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side / Glamorous Glue / We'll Let You Know / National Front Disco / Certain People I Know / We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful / You're The One For Me Fatty / Seasick Yet Still Docked / I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday / Tomorrow

    If there is any one single Morrissey solo record with the chance to appeal to as many people as possible, even those strange happy people who don't usually like Morrissey, it's this. He'd only gotten himself a full band for the first time since that other group he'd sang for split up! They only looked like a bunch of dodgy rockabilly blokes! Still, it re-energised the music, totally. A couple of songs of absolute heartbreaking beauty, one song that recalls 'his other group', and there you have it! Masterpiece, easy as that!! Ok, so this is the record that includes the controversial 'National Front Disco' which earned Morrissey actual hate mail in the music press. It isn't of course a racist song. The fact it has a happy sing-a-long chorus probably offended certain people - not words you really want to even whisper in public, let alone sing along with! But, it's a good song, it's catchy and another piece of social observation. Hats off to Morrissey for even daring to touch such a subject. Many writers would shy away from this. But, let's not talk about such 'ugliness' - let's talk Glam Rock! The two opening songs here are guitar heavy, glam heavy - especially the stomping 'Glamorous Glue'. The title gives it away, really. 'You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side' has great lyrics and a dirty guitar riff. An exciting guitar riff, believe it or not!

    Following these two guitar led ROCK songs, we get a wonderful moment of delicate beauty. 'We'll Let You Know' invited certain comparisons with The Smiths, and with good reason. It's as good a song as virtually anything that particular group did. Note I didn't say better. I said 'as good a song as virtually anything'. That's important! Let's try not to be controversial or anything, please! Songs five, six and seven were all singles. Such a thing would be irritating were the songs surrounding these not equally as great. For the record, 'Certain People I Know' borrows the riff from 'Ride A White Swan' by Marc Bolan but borrows it well. 'We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful' and 'You're The One For Me Fatty' are 'typical' Morrissey lyrics - both songs feature prominent guitar and are very good Morrissey songs, all told. God, Morrissey even laughs during the former song! Well, kind of :) 'Seasick Yet Still Docked' matches the beauty of 'We'll Let You Know' but this time with even more heartbreakingly beautiful lyrics and vocals. The music matches the desolate ( desolate! yes! good too!! ) feel of the lyrics. 'I Know It's Gonna Happen' is a soaring, almost fifties styled ballad. Impeccably performed, by the way. Brilliant, by the way. The closing 'Tomorrow' will bring a smile to the face of Smiths fans, as new Morrissey guitarist Alain White does a Johnny Marr jangle kind of electric thing, and it's rather fun! The whole album is perfectly paced, includes variety, includes depth, includes desolation in addition to lighter, funnier moments. What more could you ask for? It even includes dirty, riffing guitars! <

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    Aaron glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    Your Arsenal hum yes Q magazine gave this a 5 out of 5 and kill uncle a 2 how can this be/ the best song on this album for me is ‘I know its gonna happen someday’ wow that’s what Morrissey does best dam there should have been more on this album well there is no bad song on this album at all and another example of the best songs on this album ‘We’ll let you know’ another classic I can see u obviously liked the songs listed as u say it was perfectly performed and I totally agree ‘I know its gonna happen someday’ one of his best songs ever this album however lets us in for what’s to come with those fake kind of guitars we see on ‘Southpaw grammar’ in the future but still a very strong album I agree 9

    Lem lem6316@yahoo.co.uk
    Agree with the 9, but have to say that Vauxhall is much better. To say that these opening two songs are better than Vauxhall's is plain wrong- Now My Heart Is Full is the greatest thing ever written. Much better than Kill Uncle anyway, and thats all that matters.

    Where do i start? This is the only album that you have given a 9 for that I feel is wrong! For me this is Morrisseys best completely, every song is great and everything! The opening couple is totally glam as you say, he hasn't done anything before or since like them, both utterly immense tunes. "Glamourous Glue" in particular, check Mozzers shirt in the video. "We'll let you know" wonderful, I like how it leads up to the mildly heavier louder bit right at the end, these small things add a lot to it, the band sound wonderful. The bass at the end of "National Front Disco" for instance. Classic singles follow naturally. "Seasick, Yet Still Docked" what a name for a song for one! This is Morrissey at his achingly most beautiful, my favorite ballad and strangley underrated. The album closes with one of Morrisseys best ever songs "Tomorrow" "tell me tell me that you love me" wonderful Morrissey and the gang play to his words in a touching way. 10/10 for sure.

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    Vauxhall And I 8 ( 1994 )
    Now My Heart Is Full / Spring Heeled Jim / Billy Budd / Hold On To Your Friends / More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get / Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself / I Am Hated For Loving / Lifeguard Sleeping Girl Drowning / Used To Be A Sweet Boy / Lazy Sunbathers / Speedway

    'Vauxhall And I' received glowing praise from the music press, reached number one in the UK album charts. All was very well indeed in the land of Morrissey. Fans of Graham Greene's marvellous 'Brighton Rock' novel will smile at the opening song here. It's a glorious, life-affirming song with that rather nice 'Brighton Rock inspired lyrical section "Dallow, Spicer, Pinkie, Cubitt, rush to danger, wind up nowhere.... ah, but Bunnie I loved you....." and so on! After this song, however, the newly 'mature' Morrissey rather hits and misses. The album does have a unified sound and atmopshere, it's cohesive, artful. It's a fine album, but it lacks the edge that made 'Your Arsenal' so very entertaining. Hits and misses? Don't get me wrong, I'm speaking relatively. 'Spring Heeled Jim' is a decent enough song, for instance, but surely doesn't compare to either of the first two songs from 'Your Arsenal'. But, the very fact i'm here talking about 'Your Arsenal' at all, and not say, 'The Queen Is Dead', says something. 'Vauxhall And I', in addition to reaching number one, reaffirmed the identity of Morrissey, solo artiste, rather than that of Ex-Smith. 'Billy Budd' sent the rumour-mill into overdrive for it's very Johnny Marr sounding spiralling guitar figure and such lyrics as "things have been bad, yeah, but now it's twelve years on" and so forth. Chances are it ISN'T Johnny Marr, of course. Well, not just chance. It really isn't Johnny Marr, you know? Let's forget about him. 'Hold On To Your Friends' is lovely, soft, delicate. 'The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get' returned Morrissey to the top ten of the singles charts for the first time in four years. It's another combination of happy, glorious melodies and lyrics very self-referential actually, very taking a playful swipe at the music press - the lyrics make me smile.

    'Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself' is jaunty, if mellow with it. Morrissey sings this fantastically, by the way, clear sounding vocals with nice harmonies to back them up. 'I Am Hated For Loving' is more mellow, soft, gentle-ness, and at this stage 'Vauxhall And I' fails to reach nirvana, so to speak. It becomes too gentle. 'Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning' is a little too much Stevie Smith ( poet whose work inspired the songs title ) and a little too much an attempted repeat at 'Seasick Yet Still Docked'. All the correct elements appear to be in place, artful lyrics, good vocals - but somehow this fails to be as emotional a Morrissey moment as 'Seasick Yet Still Docked' or 'We'll Let You Know' either, for that matter. 'Used To Be A Sweet Boy' has more good vocals, more mellow and sweet guitar. Haven't we heard this before? 'The Lazy Sunbathers' is dull, the closing 'Speedway' rather good all told with its more aggressive musical and lyrical assault. If it appears I don't like 'Vauxhall And I' all that much, I didn't mean to give that impression. This is most certainly a good album, but for me, it lacks enough great individual songs, the opening number, and maybe one or two others apart. It's all nonsense anyway. 'Vauxhall And I' is good! Yeah, after all of this muddled, confused reasoning - I still dig this.

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    Danny danny@leftoffthedial.com
    Although I can tell you're a fan of this record, I have to divulge my opinion that "Vauxhall and I" is in many ways Morrissey's finest moment...ever. I mean his work with The Smiths was ridciculously good, and practically flawless, but in contrast, Vauxhall and I is the album that The Smiths never would have made. I'm almost glad they broke up just because of this album. For all the brilliance of Louder Than Bombs that I would never question, it's undeniable that the flow of the album is not cohesive--there's rockers and ballads, etc. all phenomenal, but Vauxhall has that rare quality of a perfect cohesive album both musically and conceptually. Just compare some of the opening lines..."I just can't explain, so I won't even try to" with the closing refrain "I never said..". The whole album is like a stark confessional dream sandwiched between two conscious denials to communicate. And the lyrics to songs like "Hold on to your friends", "Why don't you find out for yourself",! and "Used to be a sweet boy" are all descriptions of emotions almost too fragile for conscious expression. The mood of this album is more constant than almost any I've ever heard, but each song is somehow distinct and essential. Even "The Lazy Sunbathers" fits perfectly into the context of an album where someone's troubles are trapped between varying states of consciousness. Napping during a world war, the excessive greed for sun, this all shows a complete avoidance of conflict in favor of slow and definite deterioration, the same subtle themes of "Spring-Heeled Jim", "Speedway" and the vain hopes of "The more you ignore me". The production sound just makes this album a complete home run with its soft textures. I barely liked it on first listen, but I now think this is one of the best albums ever made; and I sometimes wonder if any other Morrissey fans see the same kind of magic.

    Chris aether12@Yahoo.co.uk
    Easily Mozzer's finest disc, towers head & shoulders above the rest of his ouevre. I'm a huge Smiths fan 2, but I've got 2 say I think "Vauxhall" is a better disc than "The Queen Is Dead" (controversial!).

    kees van lieshout keesvanlieshout@home.nl
    refering to the opening-track a heart can never be full enough of morrissey. a great opener ".....a whole house need rebuilding..." only Mozza uses this lyrics. and what of this guitarrifs. Boz Boorer and Alain Wythe. they share a coolnes that Johnny Marr never could bring. they make Morrissey more sharpend and dangerous. "they say he's mental...." on Spring heeled Jim. Great these kitchen-sink spoken words.another favorite of mine "Hold on to your friends" easygoing but what a right way to say things. to keep a friendship going is hard work. "The more you ignore me the closer i get" great opener riffs continuing through the song. very stimulating. as being said Whyte and Boorer kick ass.later we get to know Morrissey's gloomy side in "Lifeguard sleeping, girl drowning" . "The lazy sunbathers" of worldwar two getting there Morrissey-treatment.

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    Southpaw Grammer ( 1995 )
    The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils / Reader Meet Author / The Boy Racer / The Operation / Dagenham Dave / Do Your Best and Don't Worry / Best Friend on the Payroll / Southpaw

    Eight songs, two of them over ten minutes long each, and another opening with a two minute drum solo. So, not good then? Well, having long songs doesn't mean those songs can't be good of course. If that was the case, a whole load of people in Rock history would never have happened. The Smiths had done 'How Soon Is Now' - a six minute long song. But, that came across quite naturally. There was no precedant for what we have here, and what we do have here is actually two three minutes songs. Three minutes or so of either lyrical or musical ideas and then six minutes of repetition or filler. This is true of both the opening 'The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils' and the closing 'Southpaw'. For the record, the opening song has some interesting lyrics, an ominous, semi orchestral sounding musical backing played on keyboards, followed by a very ordinary rock backing for the remaining six minutes. The closing 'Southpaw' features some genuinely lovely and impressive guitar interplay, but it really does simply go on too long. It didn't need to be ten minutes long, there aren't enough ideas in either the opening or closing song to warrant these lengths. 'The Operation' opens with a two minute drum solo, but it surely isn't the kind of explosive drumming that began the title song of The Smiths 1986 'Queen Is Dead' album. In comparison with that, and of course everybody is going to make such a comparison, this is poor to say the least. It's been executed perfectly well, but when the song proper begins, just leaves you wondering why the hell it was even there. We've already had maybe twelve minutes of 'padding' with the two songs bookending this collection, what, we needed another two minutes as well? Get rid of all of this, you're left with a thirty two minute album, same length as 'Kill Uncle', actually. What would have been wrong with that? Only eight songs, OK, write a couple more. Ten songs, thirty eight minutes of music, a sensible album that actually works!

    And, that isn't even the half of it sadly, because the remaining five songs range from good to bad, but nothing ever approaches being a great Morrissey song. The guitars are much to the fore all over this album, a heavy approach some critics said was Mozza's response to britpop and Oasis in particular. And, I can understand that. Morrissey had left EMI Records and joined RCA. It ended up being the worst career move he ever made, but lets forget that for a second! I can just imagine the new record label wanting something 'hip' and 'relevant' and for some reason, Morrissey kind of semi-providing them with it. His last album had debuted at number one in the UK charts. 'Southpaw Grammer' fared significantly worse than that. Morrissey became completely irrelevant overnight, and following his next album project, disappear altogether bar the odd tour here and there to what remains of his following. For the record, 'Reader Meet Author' is deeply ordinary, 'Boy Racer' an entertaining rockier song with an involved Morrissey vocal performance, 'Dagenham Dave' the best song here and first single, one of the few things that sounds like genuine Morrissey. 'Do Your Best And Don't Worry' and 'Best Friend On The Payroll' would have struggled to make it as Morrissey b-sides in the past, and that's your album. I've been harsh, haven't I? And it breaks my heart, even all the years later. All these years later, I can still feel the very real disappointment I felt upon listening to 'Southpaw Grammer'.

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    Murray Martin martinfmurray@yahoo.com
    Sorry but I found this to be an outstanding album. Beginning to End a classic.

    Aaron glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    WHY oh WHY did he make this album i love morrissey than anyone else ever to come on to the music scene how you can give it 5 1/2 it suprises me the guitars suck they are so faulse the drummer's good thou he sounds like hes got a cold hes voise so so difrent to the sweat Sweet vocal on ‘kill uncle’ but as well as being no where near as good as the vocal on ‘Vauxhall and I’ there are about 2 good songs well one that’s proper good that’s ‘Reader Meet Author’ some nice parts in ‘Dagenham Dave’ but the chorus is awful ‘Best Friend on the Payroll’ is good enough ‘Morrissey’ will always be better of doing the slow songs on ‘Kill uncle’ and ‘viva hate’’ bona drag ‘and to me they sound much fresher than this cheesy kind of wannabe album a wannabe rock album I would like to listen to the lyrics and I do on the ones listed above but the music is to awful Compare this to the albums listed above id give it a O zero but top Vauxhall and I would give it a 4 that’s my score! 4 only because of the songs that are listed above and Do Your Best and Don't Worry but as for the rest bah

    Sergey Zhilkin jil@sch2.net
    Well, a big disagreement here. Yesterday I got an MP3 disc of Morrissey and I have to say that only this and next album grabed my attention. Good guitar work, impressive arrangements. Never liked Morrissey lyrics too much anyway, but at least this time he doesn't get annoying with "nobody loves me, gonna shoot myself, aren't you a lot like me, kid?" stuff. It's funny to see how my opinion varies from general one - I gave some spins to first albums and was disappointed to see I didn't like a single song.

    Lise doughnutjeff@hotmail.com
    I discovered Morrissey (and The Smiths for that matter) through this album. It may not be Morrissey's best album, but a damn good one!

    Will ParkesWR@cf.ac.uk
    I think Southpaw's one of Morrissey's best 6 out of 8 tracks are wonderful. 7/10 would be fair...it's not in the same league as Your Arsenal, Viva Hate or Bona Drag but is only marginally inferior to Vauxhall And I and is clearly superior to Maladjusted 6/10 and Kill Uncle 5/10...wonder how You Are The Quarry will rate

    Dan Kazimierow paulkazi@hotmail.com
    6 and a half! That is a little harsh.This album was a turning point for Bowie and remained his most hard rocking album until the Tin Machine debacle of the late eighties. It's dark, sexual Bowie at his best and IMHO on a par with the twee genius of 'Hunky Dory' which was to follow. A definate 8.

    Frank fblank@optonline.net
    This album is a must for any Morrisey fan, first of all it rocks, I agree that the first and last songs are to long, but all the others are good rockers. Its one of those records you will always go back to. Trust me, a long time fan of the Smiths and Morrisey.

    F. Charles, Will_T_Sublimation@hotmail.com
    I think that Sergey Zhilkin is wrong in asserting that Morrissey thinks others are like him. Usually his lyrics strike me as mournful of his individuality and inability to relate to others.

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    Maladjusted ( 1997 )
    Maladjusted / Alma matters / Ambitious outsiders / Trouble loves me / Papa Jack / Ammunition / Wide to receive / Roy's keen / He cried / Satan rejected my soul

    God, are the opening two songs here completely awful. The title song has such a 'mushy' sound that it's impossible to make out individual instrumental parts, 'plodding' drums apart, and Morrissey himself hardly sounds so tuneful either. Second song 'Alma Matters' is as Morrissey by numbers as it is possible to imagine, and being released in 1997, sounds slightly dated as a result. So far, so bad. 'Ambitious Outsides' is genuinely interesting though, a great lyric, clear vocal and a sparse orchestral backing that works remarkably well. And, yeah. I may as well just continue go on through this album song by song, because to be honest, it doesn't deserve deep detailed analysis. It is what it is, a below-par Morrissey album with two great songs, more of which in a second. 'Trouble Loves Me' is one of the two great songs, a soaring emotional ballad, touching, heart-wrenching and featuring joyous guitar chords to mix with the resigned nature of the man Morrissey's lyrics. Stephen Patrick turns in a great vocal too, by the way. An all-time career high, 'Trouble Loves Me' with a wonderful "on the flesh rampage" vocal refrain, so why the hell isn't the rest of this album anywhere near as good? 'Papa Jack' certainly isn't, 'Ammunition' is better and would have worked on 'Vauxhall And I' so does qualify as a genuinely good Morrissey song. So little else here does, though. I mean, 'Roys Keen'??? Unless you live in the UK, you might not be aware that their is a famous 'soccer' player called Roy Keane. This song has absolutely nothing to do with Roy Keane whatsoever, but it's an obvious ( too obvious ) play on words, and the song about some window-cleaner just rather desperate in any case.

    The second great song on this modest collection arrives with 'Wide To Receive'. Morrissey reverts to ballad mode, and does it so well. Give me an album of ballads, moz! A mature collection of songs befitting your age, you're losing your hair after all. That quiff doesn't look quite as spectactular as it once did! Let's look at things this way. Around the time of 'Vauxhall And I' Morrissey acheived renewed and practically unprecedented ( for him ) critical acclaim and respect. So, what does he do? Well, this, and 'Southpaw Grammer'. Albums received so badly by both critics and a good portion of his fans that Morrissey went into retreat, lost his record deal and still hasn't emerged with a new album five years later. Where was I? 'He Cried' is awfully drab, 'Satan Rejected My Soul' a rockier guitar song that is entertaining enough, but surely doesn't bear comparison with the best of 'Your Arsenal' for example. The Smiths may have been long gone, but who would have predicted the same fate would also befall Morrissey? Even with the harsh tone of this review ( well, it reflects my feelings accurately on the album ) I'd never have wished Morrissey away for a single second. I miss him.

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    Readers Comments

    Thomas Aherne Thomas_Aherne@skillsoft.com
    You are right to be critical of this album, but, as you have mentioned, it is worth buying the album for “trouble loves me” alone. Absolutely outstanding, and one of Morrissey’s top five songs ever.

    Mark markem41@ntlworld.com
    S T E V E N

    Pete Max pjonmax@yahoo.com
    Both Southpaw and Maladjusted need/deserve repeated listenings. I was dumbfounded by both on first playing, but on further listenings and resisting direct comparison to earlier albums you can recognise them for what they are in themselves : masterpieces! Give them another 5 listens over the next couple of weeks, you'll see that they're right up there with Viva/Bona/Uncle/Arsenal/Vauxhall. They're all 9.5/10's.

    Severed_Alliance, jbayview4@aol.com
    Indeed Adrian defo one of my favourite Morrissey solo songs. Indeed a masterwork by THE master wordsmith! Hopefully the soon to be released 'You Are The Quarry' will be a swift return to form after what was (for me) the mediocre, poor-punned offering of 'Maladjusted'. On a diferent note could you edit my post as regards 'Strangeways...' on subsequent many listenings it's now a 9/10 and just edged out by the 10/10 'The Queen Is Dead'

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    You Are The Quarry ( 2004 )
    America Is Not The World / Irish Blood, English Heart / I Have Forgiven Jesus / Come Back To Camden / I'm Not Sorry / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / How Could Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? / The First Of The Gang To Die / Let Me Kiss You / All The Lazy Dykes / I Like You / You Know I Couldn't Last

    For his first album in seven years, Morrissey turns to a producer better known for producing Blink 182 and Green Day. Jerry Finn may seem a strange choice of Morrissey producer therefore, but he's done a good job. This is a bright sounding album, a modern sounding album that yes, harks back to classic Morrissey but also has fresh touches. The keyboards, which are used throughout, really do enhance the overall sound and song arrangements. I don't where to begin with this review, really. Morrissey means a lot to me, he's helped me through. A new album? Is 'You Are The Quarry' awful, brilliant, a return to form? Well, the latter mostly. Happily. Oh, I know how to begin. We'll begin by taking a look back. Lots of classic Smiths singles. We remember them. We remember the brilliant 'Suedehead' and 'Everyday Is Like Sunday', his first two solo singles. We remember his return to top-ten form with 'The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get'. And? Well, some news for you. There is one song here that matches these past glories, one song in particular that would make as fine a single as any of the previously mentioned Morrissey high-points. Yeah, 'First Of The Gang To Die' is the one, the utter classic. A song as good as any Morrissey song, any song solo or with that bunch of other guys he used to be in a band with. The lyrics are classic Morrissey, the vocals really are total classic Morrissey. It beggars belief really. Morrissey has been away, he's come back, sounding vocally better than almost ever! That's true of the album as a whole, not just 'First Of The Gang To Die', but the coda to this song? The coda?? Ah, it's something special, it really is. I've played this song dozens of times since I received this album. Dozens and dozens of times. It's a happy song, good guitars, wonderful keyboards, stunning lyrics. The vocal at the end is one of those things Morrissey used to do a lot during his Smiths days. Ah, just listen. If you're a long-term fan especially, you'll be in tears.

    'Irish Blood, English Heart' is two and a half minutes of biting guitars, biting lyrics. A song that makes its point and then leaves you breathless. A top three hit single too, no less! The opening 'America Is Not The World' takes a few listens to sink in. When it does, you notice the clever arrangement, the beautiful vocals. The lyrics aren't the best on the album, but this song which leads into 'Irish Blood, English Heart' is certainly a decent moment. 'Come Back To Camden' actually has the finest lyrics of the album and works as the beautiful heart-breaking ballad, here. Another such moment, although one infused with Morrissey humour and wit, is the wonderful album highlight that is 'The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores'. So, let's make 'First Of The Gang To Die' the second single and then go for broke and release 'The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores' as the third. Would do it for me. You know 'You Are The Quarry' is a quality album fairly early on in your relationship with it. A simple test is to listen to it on random play. Narry a bad or weak song pops up. Every song has thoughtful arrangements, clever and intelligent lyrics and vocals. The keyboards used add another dimension to the usual Morrissey sound without ever detracting from the basic two guitars, bass and drums line-up. Highlights pop up left, right and centre, actually. 'How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?' is a classic Morrissey lyrical statement, the closing 'You Know I Couldn't Last' a near six minute long diatribe, yet one that contains touching moments too, both musically and lyrically.

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    Readers Comments

    Neil neildraper3@ntlworld.com
    10 out of 10 Morrissey back to his best. got to release ' I Like You ' surely!!!

    Will ParkesWR@cf.ac.uk
    I've heard the album and I think it's good, not great but good 7.5/10. Highlights include First Of The Gang To Die and How Can Anyone Know How I Possibly Feel...N.B.don't be put off by America Is Not The World which is a fairly insipid opener

    Chris proftim@hotmail.com
    i got the cd this lunch tim and spent my maths and english lesson sat in the corner lissing to it indiscreetly. I dont think that he will ever get the smiths sound back but this is something a bit different, brilliant though

    Billy Liar glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    2. Perhaps I was a bit melodramatic when I first made comments on this album. I've listened to it now about 4 times through and I still think its no 'vauxal or 'Viva hate', and as moz said it was he's best I was expecting one of his best solo attempts as it is it’s good but not great we needed more like 'Let me kiss you' and 'Last of the gang' 'Lazy dikes' .In fact the last half is dam good the weakest track by far is 'I'm not sorry’ so yeh I spose at the end of the day its not a bad album just not he's best but a dam site better than most of the other crap out there and another positive is Morrissey's voice it went in some pitch’s we haven’t heard since 'The smiths' debut. Id give an 8

    Dan Kazimierow paulkazi@hotmail.com
    A few years ago, when in my mid teens, I used to worship Morrissey and sincerely believed that his music was among the besty ever concieved. Now I'm a little older and having discovered other great bands (With the help of this site I might add) I 've fallen out of love with Morrissey and feel as if I have woken up from some twisted musical brainwashing. This album is dull. Morrissey's lyrics are among the worst of his career. He has made absolutely no effort to grow, either musically or as a person generally in his twenty year career and I'm frankly sick of the narrow-minded morons who still believe he is relevant. I give this a 2 for effort.

    Matt matthew_deaves@hotmail.com
    Im Matthew, 14. I was in town the other week and my friend picked me up this album. And what a friend he was to buy me sucha gem such a classic and such a shocker. This album has wit but better yet strength which makes it in my eyes a magnificiant piece of work. Recently ive been listening to the smiths more and more but the Morrissey album is great. I keep going back to it. I love morrisseys lyrics and vocal stylings. Though peoiple do say "Lyrics don't mean anything". I think morrissey proves wrong with both his lyrics and his vocals. My favorite tracks are "Irish blood, english heart" (really hardcore slightly punkish great choice for first single), "I like you" (very popish and yet very lovingly crafted musically that is also lyrically and vocally. some may say its morrisseys album but that was the guitarists song) also how could i forget "Come back to camden" (this song is one of them that grabs you by your balls and says "listen". the lyrics funny ie."You're sitting wi! th knees up and apart here you'll find despare and I" very funny and lovable. I myself would give this album a 9 because i feel since the smiths maybe morrissey is only confident in his lyrics but i don't care the album is a must own 10/10

    geoff oovanoo@blueyonder.co.uk
    Im not a die hard morrissey fan but have always reconised his lyrical / musical talents. you are the quarry is the best album ive heard in 20 years. i listen to it repeatedly to and from work and cannot get sick of it. the best sign of a goog album is that i must have played it fifty times and i honestly dont think i have ever skipped a track. everything that was said in te review a was totally correct. i am 53 years young and this album is the start of a new record collection for me

    Indie i_am_indie@hotmail.com
    I have forgiven Johnny Marr , Oh yes well from my knowledge he seems to have , As quite recently he was snapped with Johnny , Maybe they were just acting for the camera but who knows , Anyway , You are the Quarry is without doubt the must have album of the year , Quick come backs , Wittyness shining through his arse as well as his eyes , And randy guitar playing by Boz and his other camp band members , But however if you are still clinching onto Viva Hate then fucking don;t get ya' arse down to HMV , Pick up the copy and then make yourself feel asif he has written every fucking song for you , This is without doubt Morrissey mind playing tricks on him .. And quite frankly the bastard has enlightend my day!!!! :-)

    Christian weaver caw1520@hereford.ac.uk
    morrissey has undoubtingly made a full return to form with this classic album you are quarry.

    baz baz@edin77.freeserve.co.uk
    just got it today, i'm probably to early to say much but tis very good indeed ( not as good as Bona Drag mind) gotta love the 2 opener tracks as well and the stunning closer, which is one of the best morrissey and smiths songs EVER!

    Mike Thompson drthompson@btopenworld.com
    A brave opener 'America is not the World', whilst living in L.A. next to Nancy Sinatra. Could so easily have been written about England one hundred years ago. 'Irish Blood, English Heart' snipes at Labour and the Tories whilst telling us how Morrissey feels. Is this a hint at Ireland for the Irish and England for the English? 'I have forgiven Jesus' could be Morrissey coming to terms with the world after a Catholic upbringing. How could anyone one desert Morrissey or Hate him with this fluid melody? What happens by Friday is known. Come on Mozza what happens on Sunday? I loved 'Come Back to Camden' slow, lyrically he yearns for the grey skies of his beloved Manchester and a cup of tea whilst watching Corrie? 'The World is full of Crashing Bores' tells us how Mozza doesn't suffer fools gladly and yearns for someone to love him. 'First of the Gang' is my favourite but who was Hector? 'Let me kiss you' tells us the serotonin has kicked in and Mozza is tiring of the beau! tiful people of L.A. 'All the lazy dykes' Steady on Morrissey, just because they don't all fancy you.... 'I Like You' builds into a classic when he declares your not right in the head / and this is why I like you. 'You know I couldn't last' gives Morrissey a chance to vent his disgust at the commercialism which he feels diminishes artists. Come on Mozza cash in on your success and buy a season ticket for City! Blue Moon you know it makes sense. Delighted he made this album. Keep them coming. Still regret not seeing the Smiths in 1987 when I had the chance. Don't reform but do work with Marr again.

    gaza info@granadaestates.net
    'All The Lazy Dykes', such a clever song, never have I heard such lyrics. A good song is not over elaborated and straight to the point but also catchy. This song should be listened to by heterosexual males as it might make you think a little about your Mrs.

    Morrissey in the suit! First of the Gang to Die is that catchy song on a Morrissey album that you don't want to remember as the most brave or day-changing, yet Morrissey shows his experience in that and every song here. I could just imagine how I'd hate You Are The Quarry if this started it off instead of the America is Not the World tune. I Like You is the perfect excuse for not hating that special someone-to-hate, while I Have Forgiven Jesus shows how much hating all this love and desire that not everyone may perceive can be totally cool (especially if you remember the song when it happens). How Could Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel is the perfect response to what Morrissey knows other people feel about him. You Know I Couldn't Last is a mix of sarcasm and foreshadowing something bound to happen, at least as a lyricist of this song would think. I bet no songs with the title "I'm Not Sorry" is as great as the one in this disc, no matter what the artist be. Let Me Kiss You ! persuades a kiss from someone that can't possibly be won over. Come Back to Camden, I just love songs that yearn for someone to return to some place to meet the loving yearner. All the Lazy Dykes is the marriage life tribute. And the world is full of crashing bores. Yet Quarry's not one, "you" don't understand. Unless you hear the music, and stay for the lyrics. Required Morrissey excitement.

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    Ringleader Of The Tormentors ( 2006 )
    I Will See You In Far Off Places / Dear God, Please Help Me / You Have Killed Me / The Youngest Was The Most Loved / In The Future When All's Well / The Father Who Must Be Killed / Life Is A Pigsty / I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now / On The Streets I Ran / To Me You Are A Work Of Art / I Just Want To See The Boy Happy / At Last I Am Born

    Morrissey's new home on Sanctuary Records has served him well in terms of promotion. What's really remarkable and quite clever is the whisper and pass it on method of promotion. The whisper released to the media was Morrissey has recorded in Rome, he's really happy, and he's found love at last. Lyrically, portions of 'Ringleader Of The Tormentors' does indicate this. 'Explosive kegs between my legs', indeed. In terms of happy, lead single 'You Have Killed Me' is called, well, 'You Have Killed Me', Morrissey 'walks around.... somehow'. How happy can it be?? It's usual Morrissey lyrical goodness. Other portions of the tune seem to indicate that our Mozza's had a shag. Heavens above, what is the world coming to?!? It's a decent single although not upto the standard of either of the first two singles from 'You Are The Quarry'. Possible single 'In The Future When Alls Well' is prime Morrissey pop music, and dare I say it, a very happy tune too. So far so good, add these two tunes to the majority of 'Ringleader Of The Tormentors' and you have a solid album. Opener 'I Will See You In Far Off Places' sets out the albums stall. It sounds suitably epic, it sounds magnificent and it becomes clear the impact Visconti has made.

    Two particular highlights on this set ensure it at least matches the marvellous 'You Are The Quarry' album. 'Dear God Please Help Me' is beautiful, a wonderful Morrissey ballad complete with desolation and the infamous 'Explosive kegs', line. The song is a marvellous construction and a song of which Morrissey should be proud. He should be feeling even prouder of 'Life Is A Pigsty', a seven minute epic that initially sounds like you've put on a New Order record by mistake. A rolling, modern sounding bass line comes in and the vocals? Oh, those vocals! Oh, the way they've been recorded!! It's this track in particular that sounds like it may have felt right at home on an imaginary Smiths album released in 1989. It would have sounded modern and remarkable then, and it does now. There's a couple of different sections to the song and each section has layers to unravel and different musical delights to discover. It's good enough we can finally refer to The Smiths as 'the band Morrissey used to be in' without feeling the need for further clarification or explanation. A couple of weaker tunes appear on the second half of the album, and i'd have given this set an '8' were it not for the high-points, but those are high enough for me.

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    baz baz@edin77.freeserve.co.uk
    Well this album aint gonna be his best, but its pretty good stuff. Re-infirming himself evem more than Quarry did. I'm not a fan of Dear God Please Help me, even though the lyrics are great :D. Opener and Closer are amazing espiecally the latter "blah blah blah" indeed. Also Life's a Pigsty is a classic its funky at the beginning! Not sure if its as good as his epic The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils though. Also The Youngest Was The Most Loved is peado athem of the year according to my friends :/ 8 / 10

    Mike Thompson drthompson@btinternet.com
    Like all his (Morrissey's) albums they get better with each listening. Three times is all i need to think about the lyrics, work out what is new, and to marvel at his unique sound. The first track I will see you in far off places seemed a strange choice for an opener, but has an interesting middle eastern feel without the politics. Dear God please help me is excellent and with a beautiful hymn like quality which follows on from I have forgiven Jesus on the last album. The Youngest was the most loved started like a coldplay song mixed with the traffic of Rome, then launches into classic Morrissey. In the future when all is well has a hint of 'get your motor running' as the bass riff. It takes a look at the dark side with death the long, long sleep. I particularly like I'll never be anybody's hero now. How he keeps it so simple but interesting to the ear is a mystery. To be thought of as a threat by the FBI and subsequently interviewed might make him someone's hero n! ow! On the streets I ran reminded me of The Mission in the opening sequence before Mozza launches into his working class face. The 'new' band enhance his vocal qualities and I only wish I had tickets to see him live! To me you are a work of art is the kind of title you would expect from Mozza. His range is great in this song and I love the guitars. I just want to see the boy happy is this a turning point for Morrissey? His album will certainly make more fans happy than tormented. Not sure about the horns towards the end though. Probably better without horns if performed live, although the feedback at the end is good for someone who used to like the Jesus and Mary Chain! To end with at last I am born and include blah blah blah blah as a lyric is brave and works! Keep Roming Morrissey

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    Greatest Hits 8 ( 2008 )
    First Of The Gang To Die / In The Future When All's Well / I Just Want To See The Boy Happy / Irish Blood, English Heart / You Have Killed Me / That's How People Grow Up / Everyday Is Like Sunday / Redondo Beach / Suedehead / The Youngest Was The Most Loved / The Last Of The Famous International Playboys / The More You Ignore Me / All You Need Is Me / Let Me Kiss You / I Have Forgiven Jesus

    This is a straightforward hits comp focusing on the two Sanctuary Morrissey LPs with a couple of new songs thrown in to tempt the fans. Yeah, from the same man that sang 'reissue, re-package' in disparaging tones during The Smiths years. I suspect this was always going to be written into his contract and that really, he hasn't had an awful lot to do with it. It does work well to promote the forthcoming new Morrissey LP due late this year, though. What many people don't realise is just how successful Morrissey has been whilst at Sanctuary, easily the most success he's ever had, Smiths or Solo. He's a quick rundown of his UK singles since his comeback. Irish Blood English Heart, May 2004, reached number 3. First Of The Gang To Die, Jul 2004, reached number 6. Let Me Kiss You, Oct 2004, reached number 8. I Have Forgiven Jesus, Dec 2004, reached number 10. Redondo Beach, Apr 2005, reached number 11. You Have Killed Me, Apr 2006, reached number 3. The Youngest Was The Most Loved, Jun 2006, reached number 14. In The Future When All's Well, Sep 2006, reached number 17. I Just Want To See The Boy Happy, Dec 2006, reached number 16. At the same time, the attendant studio LPs peaked at numbers one and two in the UK, also reaching numbers 11 and 27 in the US, 'You Are The Quarry' peaking at 11 on Billboard making it the best selling album he's enjoyed in the US to date.

    I know Morrissey isn't everybody’s cup of tea, but if I was even slightly curious musically, I’d hunt this hits LP down. Morrissey had enjoyed a love/hate relationship with the critics, but this recent comeback has surely cemented his solo career n place, alongside, if not quite equal to, his time spent in The Smiths. It's nice to hear the old classics here. God, even reviewing this compilation makes me feel old. I didn't really remember The Smiths when I was growing up, I was slightly too young for it to sink in. I clearly and vividly recall the times Morrissey released 'Suedehead' and 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' however from when they were shown on 'Top Of The Tops'. Both had funny videos, both songs outshone nearly everything The Smiths had ever done and all was well. A further couple of singles, notably 'The Last Of The Famous International Playboys' also saw Morrissey receive a new respect from the music press and nobody was mourning The Smiths. With singles such as 'Interesting Drug' and 'November Spawned A Monster', critics started to mourn The Smiths. Morrissey's breakup with Stephen Street was almost as much of a calamity to his art as was his splitting from Johnny Marr. It's taken him a long time to recover, but from 'Your Arsenal' onwards, some sixteen years now, he's had, more or less, the same group of musicians, primarily guitarists Boz Boorer and Alan White. If it seemed from the credits on the recent LPs that Alan White was fading into the background ( Boz didn't actually get a lot of credits either ) it didn't seem to matter as Morrissey co-wrote songs with a variety of people, including his producer. Everything came out as a 'Morrissey' song, whereas with Mark Nevin of Fairground Attraction, back on 'Kill Uncle', it was clear Morrissey himself had little to do with the overall sound. He's clearly grown in confidence musically over the years

    Let's take 'The Last Of The Famous International Playboys', such a great tune, Johnny Marr himself said so, and that was just a few years after The Smiths had split. Those classic, early Morrissey hits stand up, they just do. Even after Stephen Street had departed and we reached the likes of 'The More You Ignore Me'. Well, what a brilliantly uplifting tune! What excellent lyrics! Of the post Street, pre-comeback years, 'The More You Ignore Me' is the only song present on this particular LP, incidentally. What fans really want to know however what the new songs are like is? Well, both are pretty rocky tunes, although firmly in the latest Morrissey mode, rather than a return to 'Southpaw Grammar', thankfully. 'All You Need Is Me', even sees fit to include a guitar solo. Lyrically here, Morrissey is in familiar territory, both self depreciating and somewhat ironically boastful. 'That's How People Grow Up' is the superior tune of the new compositions. It appears to be a tune with a chorus rooted in Sixties pop with crunchy guitars and solid, rock drumming to surround it. Hardly one of the finest Morrissey tunes, but doesn't let him down, either.

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    baz baz@edin77.freeserve.co.uk
    Well this album aint gonna be his best, but its pretty good stuff. Re-infirming himself evem more than Quarry did. I'm not a fan of Dear God Please Help me, even though the lyrics are great :D. Opener and Closer are amazing espiecally the latter "blah blah blah" indeed. Also Life's a Pigsty is a classic its funky at the beginning! Not sure if its as good as his epic The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils though. Also The Youngest Was The Most Loved is peado athem of the year according to my friends :/ 8 / 10

    Having devoured everything of the smiths, I looked to Morrissey for more of what I love. This greatest hits seemed a good place to start. I knew that it would be different but I never expected it to be so ordinairy. In his entire solo career, this is the cream? His voice and lyrics and melodies remain but the songs as a whole are woefully inferior. It proves that in Johnny Marr, Morrissey had an irreplaceable partnership. Still, I will give it another few listens before I dissmiss him completely. Everyday Is Like Sunday is my favourite

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    Years Of Refusal 7 ( 2009 )
    Something Is Squeezing My Skull / Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed / Black Cloud / I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris / All You Need Is Me / When I Last Spoke To Carol / That’s How People Grow Up / One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell / It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore / You Were Good In Your Time / Sorry Doesn’t Help / I’m OK By Myself

    The Morrissey comeback of 2004 - with the excellent ‘You Are The Quarry’ - saw a seven year stockpile of Morrissey lyrics and songs, written with the same key collaborators he’s had since 1992, become arguably the most critically and commercially successful album of his solo career. He followed this two years later with the lavishly produced ‘Ringleader Of The Tormentors’. He had managed to return both on his own terms and even managed to offer a few new twists on familiar lyrical themes he’s mined on and off since the inception of The Smiths. I mean, ‘Life Is A Pigsty’ even presented a lengthy intro that sounded a little like New Order. It also managed to present enough ambition to remind Morrissey fans everywhere of the likes of ‘How Soon Is Now’ and ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore’. Well, it did in our house, anyroad.

    Moving forwards then to now, 2009, we get a third Morrissey comeback LP, ‘Years Of Refusal’. There are a few disappointing early signs. The cover-art showing Morrissey cradling a baby which in a recent interview he claimed was ‘his own’ is quite frankly absolutely terrible, if not a little scary. The inclusion of two singles previously released early 2008 to promote his then latest ‘Greatest Hits’ LP is upsetting for fans who took such disparaging lyrics as ‘reissue - repackage, on their hands a dead star’ literally. The ‘MOZ-ROCK’ of the thunderous, if slight, ‘All You Need Is Me’ has a friend on the LP in opening number ‘Something Is Squeezing My Skull’. Strange lyrics and a rock-guitar mini-wigout at the end of ‘Something Is Squeezing My Skull’ marks it as potentially better than ‘All You Need Is Me’ but we’re still in slightly disconcerting territory for a Morrissey album.

    New single ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’ happily is excellent and ranks right alongside the best Morrissey singles since ‘You Are The Quarry’ spawned three top ten hits. The overall feeling though, and I’ll get to the ballads in a moment, is that ‘Years Of Refusal’ most resembles the sound of ‘Dagenham Dave’ from the critically neglected Morrissey ‘Southpaw Grammer’ LP. We’ve got rocky guitars and although these thankfully aren’t like Franz Ferdinand or Kaiser Chiefs, they don’t seem to have moved Morrissey forwards at all, if the best his band can do is sound exactly the same as they did fifteen years ago. That’s one of the reasons ‘Throwing My Arms Around Paris’ is pleasing actually, because it also sees fit to incorporate some more delicate guitar sounds among the crooning and sweet Morrissey vocals and a strong and memorable chorus.

    The ballads then, I did promise you ballads, didn’t I? Well, there’s only one in actual fact. After we’ve navigated some sounds to please Mozza’s Spanish and Mexican fans during the lyrically intriguing ‘When I Last Spoke To Carol’ ( ‘I was born in 1975’ sings Morrissey. ) we reach, eventually, ‘You Were Good In Your Time’. Morrissey is in fine voice, the strings sound good and are effectively arranged but rather than reaching any kind of crescendo, the song peters out amidst sound effects inconclusively. This just leaves two final rockers to close out the set, neither of which is exceptional especially considering the well-trodden Morrissey themes of ‘I’m OK By Myself.’ Who are you convincing Morrissey?

    Anyway, overall ‘Years Of Refusal’ actually isn’t too bad. It does seem designed, built and geared for live performance rather than considering studio outcomes. The production by the late Jerry Finn is absolutely upto par and there is an impressive level of consistency across the twelve songs. No, the real upset for long-term fans is the lack of actual standouts. You know, how many of these songs can we put side by side next to ‘Last Of The Famous International Playboys’, ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’ or ‘Suedehead’ on our MP3 playlists? Well, by my own reckoning, maybe two. ‘Throwing My Arms Around Paris’ and ‘That’s How People Grow Up.’ It’s not enough return for my liking, but I say that only because we do really have very high expectations.

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    Scott Larkin Hadfield, Derbyshire
    I think morrissey has lost the plot, this album has its highlights, but its all becoming a little run of the mill for him. I have been a massive morrissey fan for many years, but i think its time for him to hand in his microphone, and retire to the seaside. His live shows have lost there energy, but he knows his hardcore will buy up morrissey whatever he does, but no more from this fan, truly truly disapointing

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    Swords ( 2009 )
    Good Looking Man About Town / Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice / If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look At Me / Ganglord / My Dearest Love / The Never-Played Symphonies / Sweetie-Pie / Christian Dior / Shame Is The Name / Munich Air Disaster 1958 / I Knew I Was Next / It's Hard To Walk Tall When You're Small / Teenage Dad On His Estate / Children In Pieces / Friday Mourning / My Life Is A Succession Of People Saying Goodbye / Drive-In Saturday / Because Of My Poor Education

    You can usually judge a Morrissey album by the quality of the respective b-sides. Clearly, the unimaginately titled 'Swords' being an album of b-sides poses some problems in this respect. Yet, we can twist this back onto the parent albums in question and discover that Morrissey's most recent LP spawned two singles, one of which never even charted and it also spawned a grand total of none of this LPs highlights. Further back than 2009's disappointing 'Years Of Refusal' we arrive in the 'Ringleader Of The Tormentors' era. Not having ten years to prepare material/lyrics (as he arguably did with Quarry) inevitably results in fewer highlights from this era. 'Good Looking Man About Town' and 'If You Don't Like Me' are quality Morrissey tunes, though.

    2004's 'You Are The Quarry' era provides the bulk of 'Swords' highlights. 'It's Hard To Walk Tall When You're Small', 'Munich Air Disaster 1958', 'The Never Played Symphonies' and 'Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice' are all in fact better than the majority of songs than wound up on the last Morrissey LP proper, 'Years Of Refusal'. What does all of this mean? Well, the very fact that 'Swords' draws a line under Morrissey's recent solo career perhaps can be construed that he's about to take a well deserved rest. Recent health scares would suggest he probably needs to.

    Anyway, mischievous reading between the lines aside, how does 'Swords' stack up overall? Well, it's not sequenced to resemble a proper album listening experience. I can use an example from The Smiths, 'The World Won't Listen' works better than 'Louder Than Bombs' even though 'Louder Than Bombs' contains virtually all of the tracks from 'World Won't Listen' in addition to half a dozen others. Morrissey's solo 'Bonadrag' works better as an album than many of his 'proper' albums whilst the lamentable 'World Of Morrissey' serves little good purpose at all. So, it's nice to have all these modern Morrissey b-sides on one disc and 'Swords' is great to dip in and out of but I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who isn't already a fan of Manchester's finest.

    PS: The shocking lack of response from the live crowd when Morrissey plays the David Bowie classic 'Drive-In Saturday' must mean the entire audience was Tom Jonze of NME/Guardian fame.

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    Brian NYC
    worth the price for "sweetie pie". can't understand why nobody is talking about this b-side which stands out from nearly all the others. "ganglord" is second best.

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    World Peace Is None Of Your Business ( 2014 )
    World Peace Is None of Your Business / Neal Cassady Drops Dead / I'm Not a Man / Istanbul / Earth Is the Loneliest Planet / Staircase at the University / The Bullfighter Dies / Kiss Me a Lot / Smiler with Knife / Kick the Bride Down the Aisle / Mountjoy / Oboe Concerto

    I would suggest writing about Morrissey these days is difficult for someone like me who isn’t about to shoot John Lennon -  some publications insist on framing their reviews in a cloud of politics and Smiths comparisons. The (UK) Guardian newspaper, for instance, called ‘World Peace Is None Of Your Business’ musically ham-fisted. Alternative points of view are available - If you read between the lines, you may guess which publications are more interested in politics rather than music. ‘World Peace Is None Of Your Business’ entered the UK album charts at number 2 and number 14 on the US billboard 200. Chart positions are all well and fine, but then again, you could ask why Morrissey has ‘enjoyed’ around twenty separate record labels and question the fault for that. 

    Morrissey stopped having UK hit singles but the albums still do well and there is a reason - lyrics. The words for the opening title track are great and then we go into ‘Neil Cassidy Drops Dead’ which adds aggressive guitars to this great lyrical mix. ‘Istanbul’ is a highlight for me, not only of this record, but of the Morrissey solo career in total - arguably this song would also improve several Smiths records. The three songs that follow the majestic ‘Istanbul’ are not bad but are not great either. Better is ‘Smiler With Knife’ with acoustic guitar and a nice vocal - think ‘Back To The Old House’. The final two tracks on the original LP (editions with bonus tracks now more common) are both cowritten with long term Morrissey collaborator Boz Boorer. Boz has now been working with Morrissey since 1991 now and his closing composition ‘Obobe Concerto’ is a favourite in our house, at least. Lyrics and music both combine on ‘Obobe Concerto’ to form a slightly sinister, yet utterly great Morrissey album closer for a fairly impressive album release from the man.

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    Low In High School 8 ( 2017 )
    My Love, I'd Do Anything for You / I Wish You Lonely / Jacky's Only Happy When She's up on the Stage / Home Is a Question Mark / Spent the Day in Bed / I Bury the Living / In Your Lap / The Girl from Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn't Kneel / All the Young People Must Fall in Love / When You Open Your Legs / Who Will Protect Us from the Police? / Israel

    The turgid, ham-fisted guitar lets me down. Where is anything delicate? Still, the songs are excellent. Ok, I stole the turgid, ham-fisted bit because it amused me. Next? EXIT, EXIT, everybody is running to the exit. EXIT, EXIT. Well, you get the idea. The second song on this marvelous Morrissey album arrives with ‘I Wish You Lonely’ - a typical Morrissey type of song title. We get to track five then, every single one good. Fourth song is possibly the worst of the opening batch here, yet it is brilliant. I can sing along to it - ‘hope is a question - wrap your legs around my face just to greet me’

    Morrissey is (at the time of writing) 60 years old. I’m 46 years old at the time of writing. These things scare me. Morrissey is 60? He’s a good 60, I will give you that. Born to working-class Irish immigrants in Davyhulme, Lancashire says Wikipedia and I will repeat it here because it sounds good. End, repeat - I bury the living.  

    ‘In your lap’ is not desperately good, although the vocals and lyrics are. Perhaps the best song on the album however is ‘All The Young People Must Fall In Love’. In fact, I would place it alongside ‘Suedehead’ or ‘Last Of The International Playboys’ in my Morrissey song ranking list. It is persuasive. Two songs also interest me, but for other reasons - 'In Your Lap’ where Mozza sits on someone’s lap and ‘When You Open Your Legs’. You think Morrissey has seen action in recent years, don’t you?

    Morrissey puts a great vocal melody onto ‘When You Open Your Legs’ - great vocal melodies were all over Smiths songs and great vocal melodies - severely underrated. We get some dull tracks to end this album, but overall it is good. On the CD I have is a Morrissey cover of The Pretenders "Back On The Chain Gang” - a brilliant cover version, excellent. He tosses it away as a bonus track. Was it a single? I could look that up. Will I? Nope, I rarely look anything up.

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    this page last updated 19/05/20

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