NOW PLAYING: 'VAUXHALL AND I' BY MORRISSEY...
I originally tried to source a copy of ‘Your Arsenal’ but baulked at the thought of paying £80 for a record that cost less than a tenner when it came out (admittedly it was over 30 years ago, but still)…
Thankfully, ‘Vauxhall And I’ had been rereleased on its 20th anniversary and was available for a much more reasonable price so I snaffled it up. I’d forgotten just how good this album is, I’m glad I had this happy accident as Bob Ross would say!
I read that someone described this album as the point where Morrissey finally stopped being the frontman of The Smiths and became an artist in his own right. I’d go along with that, the songs on this record sound less like reworked demos from his previous life and more like fresh ideas.
The album was created on the back of three of his closest colleagues passing away so it is no surprise that it is a more downbeat affair than his previous release ’Your Arsenal’. Two of the three singles released, ‘Hold On To Your Friends’ and the rousing ‘Now My Heart Is Full’ are about relationships, a not-so-subtle reference to the people he had recently lost I guess.
This record was supposed to be a goodbye as he had announced he was giving up music after 10 years of being on the release/tour/release/tour merry-go-round. Also, he was taking a pasting in the tabloids and music press, with his sexuality being constantly questioned and ‘The Pope of Mope’ persona being lampooned.
This may have hurt him but it also spawned the excellent first single from the record; ‘The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get’ - swings and roundabouts, eh?!
Although there are a lot of pop-ballad tracks on this album there are some tracks that interested me at the time like ’Spring-heeled Jim’ with its sampled dialogue from the 1959 film ‘We Are the Lambeth Boys’ weaved through it. ‘Speedway’ is another track that stands out with its chainsaw sample at the beginning and its big, loud, brash finish.
This is probably Morrissey’s best non-compilation solo album. The critics loved it, the fans loved it and I love it. If you fancy getting a bit of ‘The Sage of Salford’ in your life, this version is available all over the place for about £20.
Tracks To Try: Any of them.