Morrissey/The Best Of Morrissey [Rhino Records]


The Best of Morrissey

Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), known primarily as Morrissey, is an English singer and songwriter.[1] He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. After the band’s breakup in 1987, Morrissey began a solo career, making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart in the United Kingdom on ten occasions. Widely regarded as an important innovator in indie music,[2] Morrissey has been described by music magazine NME as “one of the most influential artists ever,” and The Independent has stated that “most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that he has reached in his lifetime.”[3] Pitchfork Media has called him “one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last 20 years.”[4]

Morrissey’s lyrics have been described as “dramatic…bleak, funny vignettes about doomed relationships, lonely nightclubs, the burden of the past and the prison of the home.”[5] He is also noted for his unique vocal style.[6] His forthright, often contrarian opinions have led to a number of media controversies, and he has also attracted media attention for his advocacy of vegetarianism and animal rights.

The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get—-Never one of my favorite songs by Morrissey, it retains a place for me simply because of the sublime underlying sarcasm and self-effacing quality that Morrissey has built into a career. The vocal is splendid…Moz is in full ‘croon’ mode while the music is more sedate and jangly allowing every word to be caught by the listener. This is nice, but not a career highpoint for me.

Suedehead—-For me, this has always been a highpoint in the career of Morrissey…allowing a new and fresh sound away from The Smiths, the gentle guitar is familiar enough to let you know that the self-proclaimed King Of Mope had not wandered far from his comfort zone. The vocal is to die for…the guitars just jangly enough to allow you the English import feel…the lyrics are sardonic enough to keep you interested and the delivery is masterful. I could not ask for more…20 years on and this is still fresh and new to me.

Everyday Is Like Sunday—-One of the first solo singles to be released, Morrissey wanted the world to know that he was still relevant without Marr & Co. standing alongside. This was easily accomplished by this single. This still plays really well today and remains a high point in any Morrissey live experience. The vocal is masterful, the lyrics are deep and intense and cause you to pay attention. The musical landscape is so layered and filled with nuances that you fall in love everytime you hear this….Masterful!!!

Glamorous Glue—-Filled with a saw-buzz guitar and great bass drum, the song slows to allow for the entrance of the vocal….Morrissey enters with a subtle and sardonic delivery that is the beginnings [for me] of his distaste for everything British. Never one to hide his political views, this song for me is a rant and a rail against the monarchy and the less than effective governmental leadership at the time in the UK. Musically, this is all Morrissey all the way. A home run!!!

Do Your Best And Don’t Worry—-With a very uptempo and noisy guitar track, it always amazes me that Morrissey manages to keep his place and his persona despite the noise that is going on behind him. The vocal delivery is perhaps one of the best of his career…the delivery is mellow, relaxed and full of subtle barbs that touch my very soul. This is a remarkable piece of music…loud and boisterous…sedate and introspective….the best of two worlds.

November Spawned A Monster—-This remains my least favorite Morrissey release ever. None the less, it does combine some of the best elements together in one song to create a virtual landscape of beauty. I do not care for the premise or the long drawn out musical interludes, but the man can be forgiven. Next….

The Last Of The Famous International Playboys—-With a solid bass line, the song ushers in Morrissey sounding a bit languid and introspective. As the song truly opens up, the song becomes rather fun as Morrissey displays even more of his fascination with the underbelly characters of the world. This is brilliant…the musical landscape is wonderfully British and Morrissey wraps his pipes around it like a magnificent scarf.

Sing Your Life—-This is a brilliant one of single that perhaps explains Morrissey to a tee. Indeed, his whole life has been set to music for the enjoyment of us…the fans. I could never find a single fault with this song…the musical backdrop is sedate and magnificently quiet…the vocal gives you real things to thing about and the vocal is classic, wonderful Morrissey. I could never ask for more….

Hairdresser On Fire—-This is yet another brilliant display of the genius of Morrissey….the musical backdrop is both lush and brash…allowing for a comfortable place to sit in while enjoying the masterful vocal of Moz.  I love the gentle and almost seductive delivery that Morrissey delivers…this is fabulous…in fact I’m sure Morrissey would describe it in the same way. Brilliant!!!

Interesting Drug—-This is, again, one of those singles that had me wondering what path Morrissey was going to take with his new-found freedom as a solo artist. the song has some nice highpoints….I love the prominent bass line and the almost rock-a-billy drums…..I love the subtle vocal of Morrissey and the overlays and harmonies that run through the chorus….I really dislike the way the lead guitar is right up in front….jangling in my ear and almost making the vocal a second though…none the less, this is still a nice high point from the earlier days.

We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful—-A really great single from one of the most creative and critically acclaimed periods of Morrissey’s solo career, this still resonates with me today. Every word that Morrissey manages to emit on this single describes life as it is…the disdain of people remain a remarkable thing and you can not deny the sentiments of the song or the title. this is a remarkable time in musical history forever mortalized on vinyl. Wonderful!!!

Certain People I Know—-This is so damn pleasant from the very first guitar chord. Morrissey enters with a sedate and relaxed, almost sexy vocal that still makes my heart melt. This is wonderful…the slight Rock-A-Billy guitar delivery marked a new direction for the band as far as musical sound went and it fit everyone like a glove. This is a piece of POP genius that should and deserves to be heard by the masses.

Now My Heart Is Full—-Beginning very sedate, Morrissey sings in a tone that sounds remarkably comfortable…..as he shifts to a higher register, it is done with ease and he delivers lines that will literally make you swoon and sweat with the sexiness of it all. This man remains one of the best songwriters of our time and this song is a clear example of the assertion. The music fits into the palm of his hand with ease and he manipulates the sound as it wraps around him like his wayward microphone chord. This is wonderful, brilliant, moving and triumphant.

I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday—-This rather short and emotional single is full of the classic Morrissey soundbites from some obscure film or the other…..the music literally swell like a broken ankle around a shoe as the emotion is everywhere without a single word emitted. When Moz does enter, it is with such emotion that even after a 1000 listens I still get goose bumps and tears in my eyes…this remains the genius of Morrissey!!!!

Sunny—-Never released as a proper single in the US, the market here really missed out on a great simple song by the master. This is sedate, shiny and full of the classic qualities that the man has built his platform upon. I could never ask for more than this…this is wonderful pop music that is delivered with a sardonic quality but still swims in the sea of Moz. Wonderful!!!

Alma Matters—-One of the best Morrissey singles ever released, it was also one of the most ignored. This is brilliant…Morrissey is a master story-teller and manages to narrate a masterful story in 4 minutes or so. Combining all of the eccentric vocal styles of the past put in one song, the emotion overflows on the track allowing the listener to fall in love all over again. Did I mention that I love this man?

Hold On To Your Friends—-With a nice gentle introduction from some pretty nice acoustic guitar, the vocal enters sounding even more sedate than ever. The remarkable sense of melody that is transported by Morrissey makes the song even larger than it really is. this is a remarkable journey through a few short minutes of masterful poetry and the introspective examination of friendship, the lack there of and the true meaning of such. Brilliant.

Sister, I’m A Poet—-This is a remarkable little song, the Rock-A-Billy guitars and drums are in full effect as Morrissey delivers a vocal that is one of the best of his career. Although I prefer the live version of this song above all others, this is a nice display of why the song plays so well live. This is a remarkable piece of recorded history…long live the king….Morrissey is a God!!

 Disappointed—-With a remarkable sound that seems to continually down shift but never moves, the musical landscape of the song remains the highpoint of this track. the vocal is masterful…full of the languid and morose material that Moz in known for…but the music and the band for me, are the stars of this song. This is genius!!!

Tomorrow—-The sound of this song is just huge…..where does all of this noise come from? The pace of the track is like no other Morrissey song…it travels at a remarkable pace as Morrissey still stands locked still in his serenity. The lyrical output is relatable to everyone…we have all been there…the cost of love can truly makes us ache to our very core. Morrissey comes across more human than I have ever experienced. This is fantastic!!!

Lost—-With swirling, almost orchestrated sounds, the song allows for a very tender vocal that shows the emotion of Morrissey displayed naked and laid bare for everyone to see. This is a wonderful way to end this compliation…reminding those of us who idolize to realize that this is a man, a human being that deserves respect and isolation as they see fit. A true personal hero…….

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

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