Morrissey: Vauxhall and I

review morrissey x1 cong

The 20th anniversary “definitive master” of what some Mozzer fans say is his best solo effort comes with a unreleased 1995 live concert (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), which again features solo stuff bar one track.

It was reportedly written after the death of several close acquaintances, not least Mick Ronson; death and its inevitability seem to be preoccupy Mozzer.

Opener Now My Heart Is Full references Brighton Rock’s anti-hero Pinkie Brown, a character who can be merciless and is simultaneously obsessed with and repelled by sex and human connections (sounds familiar, Mozzer).

Billy Budd references the book of the same name, by Herman Melville, but published after his death, in which a rejected romantic is hung. “Billy Budd, I would happily lose both of my legs … if it meant you could be free,” sings Morrissey, with a line from the same song: “Things have been bad, But now it’s 12 years on” possibly referencing his former band, seeing himself as the rejected romantic.

The album’s first single The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get, containing the most Mozzer-like line on the album: “Beware I bear more grudges / Than lonely High Court judges.” Either that or Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning, and its lyric “The shrill cry through darkening air / Doesn’t she know he’s had such a busy day?”

Musically, it misses the sharpness of Johhny Marr’s guitar and it is much of a muchness, the music being a vehicle for the lyrics and not really bursting out on its own. Standout musically is possibly Spring-Heeled Jim, which is slightly Brighton Rock-tinged in that it sounds like a young hood stalking round late at night looking for a victim.

The live bonus CD includes You’re The One For Me Fatty and National Front Disco.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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