|Musicfolio.com||Reviews & Recommendations|
still don't belong to anyone
- I am mine
-- "I am hated for Loving" - Morrissey
|"Morrissey embarked on his solo career with the Suedehead
single and the 'Viva Hate' LP, instant critical favorites on both sides of the
Atlantic despite his oft-times contentious relationship with the British press.
Once alone in the spotlight, Morrissey actively cultivated his self-made,
anti-hero persona - the consummate Englishness, studied vulnerability, the
awkward balance between exhibitionist and introvert, the self-proclaimed
celibacy, and the quick and charming wit all combined to increase his notoriety
and secure a more rabid fan base than ever before. The results of his labor
scored on the charts as well, where 'Viva Hate' reached #48 on Billboard's
Album Chart, besting The Smiths' highest chart
position from the outset.
(...) With the release of the breakthrough 'Your Arsenal' LP in 1992, produced by glam legend Mick Ronson, Morrissey began to receive the popular acceptance and critical acclaim that had previously eluded him and more of the controversy that has continually dogged him. The disc bowed at #21 on the Billboard Album Chart and was followed by his most successful international concert tour ever. Selling-out American arenas and setting venue box-office records became the norm, though his 22-minute sell-out of the Hollywood Bowl - eclipsing the Beatles' record - was nothing short of spectacular. "
½ 1988: Viva Hate
"Following the breakup of the Smiths, Morrissey needed to prove that he was a viable artist without Johnny Marr, and Viva Hate fulfilled that goal with grace. Working with producer Stephen Street and guitarist Vini Reilly (of the Durutti Column), Morrissey doesn't drastically depart from the sound of 'Strangeways, Here We Come', offering a selection of 12 jangling guitar-pop sounds. One major concession is the presence of synthesizers -- which is ironic, considering the Smiths' adamant opposition to keyboards -- but neither the sound, nor Morrissey's wit, is diluted."
--Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG
¾ 1990: Bona Drag
Includes three of Morrissey's smash hits: Suedehead, The Last Of The Famous International Playboys and Everyday Is Like Sunday.
"'Bona Drag' is a compilation of tracks from Morrissey's first seven singles, released over 1988-1990. It is an excellent album to discover Morrissey by. Though it is a compilation, it is considered by many as a regular album. Most of the songs on it are not on any other album. "
1991: Kill Uncle
"What 'Kill Uncle' lacks is the musical coherence, let alone the stick-in-your-head charisma, that would lend the album the consistency of the singer's previous work. From the pleasant pop of Our Frank to the lazy crawl of Asian Rut or the pound of Found Found Found, it plays more like a fragmented collection of polished studio outtakes than a finished album. After a choppy compilation of British singles and B sides from Morrissey last year (Bona Drag), that detached feel is particularly disappointing. "
--Rachel Felder, RollingStone.com
¾ 1992: Your Arsenal
"Unlike most artists who pay tribute to their pop inspirations, Morrissey doesn't wear his influences on his sleeve. The rockabilly stylings of "Certain People I Know" and the grungy sound of "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful" suit the songs well, and if music had been more diverse in the eras when those sounds were popular, this is what they would have sounded like with more uncompromising lyrics. Like The Black Crowes, Morrissey's song titles can often be as creative as the lyrics themselves. Or simply, they're just more wordy than the average pop song. Speaking of which, "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" is a terrific send-up of the 1950s teen love song with Morrissey's distinctive twist. No surprise that fellow pop-music-stylist David Bowie covered this one. As of now, Morrissey is on some sort of creative hiatus, but until he returns with another finely-crafted pop masterpiece, YOUR ARSENAL will stand as Morrissey's finest album since leaving the Smiths. "
--Eric Andrews, via amazon.com reviews
1993: Beethoven Was Deaf
"This is Morrissey's only live album. It was recorded at the end of the "Your Arsenal" tour. Obviously not the best album to discover Morrissey, but essential nevertheless, especially to the fans who have attended one or more of his live performances. "
½ 1994: Vauxhaul and I
"Vauxhall And I is the fifth solo album from the prolific Morrissey since the disbandment of the Smiths in 1987, and it places the enigmatic moper in his most revealing backdrop to date. Over the years, the Moz has crafted his self-conceived anti-hero/anti-pop star aura with introverted, vulnerable and definitely British wit, and 'Vauxhall And I' strips all of that to its bare minimum. Morrissey's crooning and perfect-pop sensibility are still there, but where 1992's 'Your Arsenal' wielded a more rockabilly flavor, Vauxhall And I settles into gentle acoustic strums to create its melody-rich, oak-laden, moderately-tempoed arrangements, indicated by the choice of Steve Lillywhite (U2, Kirsty MacColl) as producer. "
--CMJ New Music Report, via CDnow.com
1995: World of Morrissey
"a compilation without a definite aim except perhaps ending Morrissey's record contract with EMI. It is not a singles nor a b-sides compilation. It compiles a bit of everything, including album tracks. It is said that the lot was considered by Morrissey to be his best material at the moment of its release. "
1995: Southpaw Grammar
Just click here! to send us your review of this album.
¾ 1997: Maladjusted
"(...) Unfortunately, Maladjusted is perfect fodder for another cliche, the one about having to suffer to produce great art; we all know that Morrissey channeled the unresolved emotional issues of his unhappy adolescence into brilliant songs; but that was then. Now we're faced with an evidently content Morrissey who knows not how to find a new muse, so he tries to reinvent his past one, only to result in work that, frankly, causes suffering in the listening. "
--John Bitzer, CDnow.com
1997: SuedeHead: The Best Of Morrissey
A compilation of singles released on EMI between 1988 and 1995. Includes three non-album singles: Sunny, Pregnant For The Last Time, and Interlude, the duo with Siouxsie Sioux.
¼ 1998: My Early Burglary Years
"(...) Morrissey's solo efforts have been a bit spottier than the Smiths' generally excellent output, and this seemingly contractual collection of B-sides, live cuts and rarities reflects that. There are some cool moments here, and there are also some self-indulgent whines that are extreme even by Morrissey's standards -- whines that might make even the biggest Morrissey lover doubt his passion.
Albums like this often make clear the original reasons we haven't heard these songs before: many of them just aren't that good. On ""At Amber,"" Morrissey croons one of his classic, low, longing laments, but it goes nowhere, and in the end just makes you want to go listen to a Smiths record. Morrissey has always shone best when he tempers his melodramatic whine with solid pop melodies and ironic, self-aware observations. We know he's capable of that sort of mix, but it's almost wholly lacking here. "
--Jay Blumenfield, StarPulse.com
2001: ¡The Best Of! Morrissey
The Best of Morrissey (Rhino) captures an overview of the solo career of a man who has long been champion of the underdogs, but has proven time and time again that he has much bite in his bark. (...) The obvious titles are here, such as Suedeheadand Everyday is Like Sunday, alongside more interesting romps inside the mind of a man who has at times been considered a bit fragile with emotions. (...) This collection would be the perfect introduction to those who have not yet had the Morrissey experience. For those of us fortunate to have been along for the ride, it is a great reminder of his brilliance. Hopefully, (for those of us holding our breath) Morrissey will soon sign to a label and continue to entertain us with his witticisms. It definitely runs the vast gamut of human emotions. By the time the last track, Disappointed, rolls around (a song early into his solo career), and he sings "This is the last song I will ever sing," you will pray that it isn't so. Then the cheeky manipulative side of his personality emerges: "No, I change my mind again." You'll be glad that he did.
-- Deanna Romero, Virgin Magazine, 11/01
2004: You Are The Quarry
Tracklisting: 1.America Is Not The World 2.Irish Blood, English Heart 3.I Have Forgiven Jesus 4.Come Back To Camden 5.Im Not Sorry 6.The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores 7.How Could Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel? 8.The First Of The Gang To Die 9.Let Me Kiss You 10.All The Lazy Dykes 11.I Like You 12.You Know I Couldnt Last
"...the 12-track set finds the former Smiths frontman expressing his views on American politics, religion and the longstanding civil war between England and Ireland, in addition to imagining himself as a member of a Mexican street gang. ... the album opens with America Is Not the World, in which Morrissey describes the dichotomy of a country that is a 'land of opportunity in a just and truthful way / and where the President is not black, female or gay.' First single Irish Blood, English Heart sees him in a similarly defiant state of mind, declaring, 'no regime can buy or sell me.' Morrissey is nothing if not perpetually unlucky in love, a subject he tackles on I'm Not Sorry ('the woman of my dreams, she never came along / the woman of my dreams, well, there never was one'), Let Me Kiss You and I Like You, one of the album's standout tracks. On the latter, which is melodically reminiscent of Human League's synth-pop classic Don't You Want Me, Morrissey admits to the subject, 'no one I ever knew or have spoken to resembles you.' (...) I Have Forgiven Jesus zeroes in on Morrissey's familiar bluntly honest lyrical outlook: 'Monday, humiliation / Tuesday, suffocation / Wednesday, condescension / Thursday is pathetic / By Friday, life has killed me.' Overall, the Jerry-Finn produced 'Quarry' emphasizes the poppier side of Morrissey's musical persona. Synthesized strings are prominent on a number of tracks, as are the keyboard contributions of Roger Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Air)."
-- Jonathan Cohen, Billboard.com, 3/04
¼ 2006: Ringleader of the Tormentors
Musicfolio Picks: I Will See You In Far-off Places, Dear God Please Help Me, Life Is A Pigsty
"The pointless guitar crashing that has marred many, many a solo tune is unfortunately prominent, and only occasionally (notably on In the Future When All's Well) is the benefit of glam producer Tony Visconti's input obviously felt. Still, much of his good work is undone by the recurring employment of ill-advised kiddy sing-a-longs, never, never a welcome touch. The great redeemer is Morrissey's own voice, which has thus far evaded the ageing process. Indeed, from a technical perspective, his controlled delivery on standout track I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now without doubt represents his finest ever performance. Elsewhere, Life Is a Pigsty is his finest epic since Late Night, Maudlin Street ('Viva Hate'), but further highlights are in catastrophically short supply. Anyone crossing their fingers that below-par lead single You Have Killed Me is utterly unrepresentative of its parent album's quality should be prepared for disappointment. The sad possibility exists that the hilarious cover image of Morrissey in mock classical violinist pose may be the source of more pleasure than any of the digitised content that it identifies. Frustratingly."
-- Stephen Gilliver, thisisbolton.co.uk, 3/06
½ 2009: Years of Refusal
Tracklisting: 1. Something Is Squeezing My Skull 2. Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed 3. Black Cloud 4. Im Throwing My Arms Around Paris 5. All You Need Is Me 6. When I Last Spoke To Carol 7. Thats How People Grow Up 8. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell 9. Its Not Your Birthday Anymore 10. You Were Good In Your Time 11. Sorry Doesnt Help 12. Im OK By Myself
We're unsure what Morrissey's been refusing to do all these years, but the dozen tracks don't suggest too much change: We still get the man pining and punning, showcasing his soft and razorsharp sides, and hooking us in with his drama. By and large, 'Years' is an upbeat, concise collection. In fact, a number of the first eight songs are under (or just above) three minutes. It's the last four songs that are the longest. At their best, these lengthier songs create an epic feeling for the finale, but in the case of the dragging You Were Good In Your Time, they can also diminish the punch. For the most, Morrissey's performances are enjoyable -- he over enunciates, chatters, hooks us in, swoons. A perfect example if the excellent opener Something Is Squeezing, wherein he lets us know "there is no hope in modern life," but that "the motion of taxis excites me." Well, the motion of this song excites us, especially how it explodes with a drum-roll build and background "hey"'s at the finale. Fuck yes, take a bow. Not all the songs have such an invigorating kick: Black Cloud is decent, but just decent. We could analyze some other lesser bits, but actually, the best songs are the ones we've heard: The lovely I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris, the energetic, cheeky All You Need Is Me, That's How People Grow Up, Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed and its weird fart synth. Across the board, the wordplay isn't always as tight as it once was, but he seems like he isn't trying as hard to cram so much into the sentences, so this isn't necessarily a bad thing: It feels like the ease of age. Morrissey 2009 isn't always as exciting as the Morrissey of old, but despite his focus on mortality and aging the time around, the guy is far from dead. Good thing, he has that baby to raise.
-- stereogum.com, 01/09
2009: Swords (b-sides)
Tracklisting: 1.Good Looking Man About Town 2.Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice 3.If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look At Me 4.Ganglord 5.My Dearest Love 6.The Never-Played Symphonies 7.Sweetie-Pie 8.Christian Dior 9.Shame Is The Name 10.Munich Air Disaster 1958 11.I Knew I Was Next 12.It's Hard To Walk Tall When You're Small 13.Teenage Dad On His Estate 14.Children In Pieces 15.Friday Mourning 16.My Life Is A Succession Of People Saying Goodbye 17.Drive-In Saturday 18.Because Of My Poor Education
Release date: Oct 26, 2009
Charts | Lyrics/Poetry | Links | Contact Us | Advertising
Copyright © 1999-2012 - musicfolio.com - All Rights Reserved