Morrissey / My Early Burglary Years

My Early Burglary Years

My Early Burglary Years is a compilation album by Morrissey that was released in September of 1998 in the United States on Reprise Records. It follows in the tradition of his previous compilation albums Bona Drag and World of Morrissey in that it collects various single a-sides and b-sides, some album tracks, live tracks and previously unreleased material.

The Analysis:

Sunny—-Although this was released as a single, this song NEVER saw airplay or promotion in the US. This is too bad, as this is Morrissey in the most comfortable and predictable way. This has a nice gentle verse and a powerful, typical Morrissey chorus. A fan or a newcomer could not possibly find fault with this track. this is better than 90’s era Morrissey and it is sad that this single was not publicized and played more often. Stellar!!!

At Amber—-This is another of those B-sides that is typical and comfortable Morrissey. The music is surprisingly gentle for this timer period in the Master’s career. The lyrics are brilliant…full of double entendres that are left to the listener to decipher as it pertains to their life…such is the mastery of Moz!!!

Cosmic Dancer—-This live track wonderfully captures the energy and feeling of adoration that is prevalent at a live Morrissey event. This track is somber and features a Morrissey in his best voice….when he croons to the audience, the reaction is pure bliss. the screams only accentuated by every little nuance Morrissey performs. This is a great recording…the crowd, we, love this man!

Nobody Loves Us—-Magnificent…just as you would expect. This is one of the best tracks that Moz produced in this time period and it ends up as a B-Side. The chorus to this song is freakin brilliant!! Full of the morose emotional barren field you would expect, this song screams to be embraced and shared to the whole world. This guy knows far more than he lets on!!! As the end of the song approaches and Morrissey becomes more vocally aggressive….well um, excuse me!!!

A Swallow On My Neck—-a rather sallow track, this has a really nice instrumental track that caught my attention from the onset. Morrissey delivers line after line of self-deprecating limes that distracts from the music for me. When the chorus of the song hits, accompanied with a nice back drop vocal the harmonies slowly win you over.

Sister, I’m A Poet—-I’ve said this many times before when this song has popped up in compilation reviews…this little song is one of my favorite solo Morrissey songs ever. I love the slight rock-a-billy feel to it, the lazy vocal that Morrissey delivers and the sentiments are brilliant. This still remains on my list of 10 Morrissey songs I could never live without.

Black-Eyed Susan—-I really never found a reason to like this track…there was too much other excellent stuff going on at the time. I think I have this on the CD-5 release of Sunny. The whole born-again atheist is something that keeps coming up in his lyrics at this time…like he found his God and his God let him down…interesting!

Michael’s Bones—-Wow…this goes way back. I believe I have this on a 12″ vinyl release that came out before even Viva Hate was released. I gathered this up and kept it close to me…this was the first post Smiths Morrissey that we had heard and it was precious to us. This is nice…revealing and a bit of a homo-erotic release. Done in true Morrissey style!

I’d Love To—-I believe, if my memory serves me [and that is questionable], this is another early Morrissey B-Side. This begins rather atmospheric and only sets up the perfect entrance for Morrissey. This is a soundtrack inspired track that pays homage to the classic Smiths mope and the new Morrissey self-deprecating mope. There is a slight difference. This is a huge and layered track…the emotion that is not conveyed by Morrissey is conveyed in the morose soundtrack. Magnificent!!!

Reader Meet Author—-This is a much more current B-side…I believe this is from the Southpaw Grammar sessions. Morrissey is in the finest vocal form of his career, but no one appreciated it but me. Most fans were offset by the guitar delivery on this release….this is one release that reminded me of the true genius of Moz…to deliver line after line of introspective lyrics set to this pace…remarkable!!!

Paschernate Love—-Really not sure where this came from, this track has a great bass intro and slight rock-a-billy sound that is magnificent and much better than the vocal. The vocal mix on this is really odd…the voice is pushed way to the back of the mis and sounds live to me. Although this is not listed as being live. Morrissey manages some nice vocal peaks, but the voice sounds a bit empty to me.

Girl Least Likely To—-This is another very early B-side and carries a strong Smiths resemblance to the construction. This was the early days…when we were getting bits and pieces from the Moz and we ate up these B-Sides as well as the listed A-Sides. This is fantastic…Morrissey hits some nice effortless notes that are just like the old days….sigh!!!!

Jack The Ripper—-Yes, this is another of those Morrissey songs that are in the top 10 of tracks I could never live without. This is a morbid and morose track that explores Morrissey’s fascination with everything criminal and morbid. He puts himself as the victim in the song…the result is a damn catchy song that few people have really studied the lyrics to. This is fresh and oh so typical Moz!

I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty—-Another relatively early B-Side, this is introduced with a gentle piano that reminds me of the opening strains to Bridge Over Troubled Water. This is the late future for Morrissey…I can see the day when he follows Rod Stewart and begins to release all of these old tracks in his best crooner voice. I hope not…but there is always a place for Moz at the Golden Nugget in Vegas!!!!

The Boy Racer—-Was this really a B-Side….I question that. This is one of the more aggressive songs that Moz released in the late 90’s. Southpaw  was a pretty aggressive record musically and one that allowed me to appreciate the songwriting of Morrissey even more…how he could make this stuff fit to really rocking sounds. this sounds live to me…whether with an audience or as a demo, the result is stellar. This version has even more energy….I need to listen to this release again…it has been awhile.

Boxers—-This is a damn great song…ignored by many erstwhile fans, they missed out on a track that is true Moz. Always fascinated by the most masculine lifestyle, Morrissey delivers his fey vocal describing the occupations of that which he could never be. I can relate…Moz wants to be what he cannot, and dislikes what he is…story of my life!!!

****1/2 out of 5


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