Sunday, August 12, 2012

Album Review: Morrissey – Your Arsenal

Some return to form for Morrissey.  Previous album Kill Uncle seemed laboured and he seemed in danger of becoming irrelevant in the 90s.  1992 saw him re-emerge with a new band and shiny new Mick Ronson-produced album Your Arsenal.  It literally roars out of the traps with the rollicking You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side.  Lyrically he’s right back on song with the sarcastic “here I am... well you don’t have to look so pleased”.   GLAMorous Glue is a total glam stomp.  Never before had Morrissey strutted his way so definitely through a song as he crooned “London is DEAD! London is DEAD!”  Similarly Certain People I Know echoes T. Rex’s Ride A White Swan.
A breather then for We’ll Let You Know, moodier territory on the subject of football hooliganism.  It becomes more defiant towards the end when the band picks up steam, Morrissey singing “we may seem cold or we may even be the most depressing people you’ll ever know”.  He got a lot of flack for seeming ambivalence to this and racism in National Front Disco (“England for the English”).
The classicly-titled We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (“and if they’re northern that makes it even worse”) also contains wonderful jangly guitar.  Downtempo moments are not forgotten on this album.  Seasick, Yet Still Docked is the latest in a line of moody Morrissey moments, dating back to Pretty Girls Make Graves, while I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday is one of his cleverest moments.  It’s a homage to David Bowie’s Rock n Roll Suicide, with the coda overtly imitating Bowie’s coda. 
Final track Tomorrow sees Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte’s guitars combine to great effect.  It’s a superb collection of songs, and one of Morrissey’s finest albums.