(Stephen Patrick) Morrissey's solo career began as the Smiths came crashing to a halt. From the late '80s and through the '90s, Morrissey released several great songs but never pulled it all together for a great album. He came close with his debut "Viva Hate" which had a sound, style and feeling, similar to the Smiths.
Morrissey's career was filled with angst-ridden songs that, just as the Smiths, built a loyal if select fan base, from the college/Alt. Rock audience. Morrissey's voice had a dark, moody edge. His solo sound, while not as effective as the Smiths largely because there was no Johnny Marr around, didn't stray from guitar driven Rock.
'08 was notable for what didn't happen. First, "Years Of Refusal" couldn't find a U.S. distributor. This was kind of odd since it was the follow-up to '06's "Ringleader Of The Tormentors" which had been #1 in the U.K. Also, "Years Of Refusal" was produced by Jerry Finn (his last album before passing away) who had also been at the controls for the successful '04 set "You Are The Quarry." Eventually, "Years Of Refusal," with the lead single "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris," came out on the Attack/Lost Highway label in the States but that didn't happen until March, '09.
Morrissey's '07/'08 "Greatest Hits" tour yielded enough material for a DVD. However, Morrissey was not initially pleased with the end product and implored fans not to buy it when it came out. That too was pushed off until '09. Also that year, remastered versions of '95's "Southpaw Grammar" and '97's "Maladjusted" were released before "Years Of Refusal" arrived.
But just to show that '08 wasn't a complete wash-out, Morrissey made Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time." He placed 92nd - coming in ahead of Karen Carpenter.
1988 Viva Hate
1991 Kill Uncle
1992 Your Arsenal
1994 Vauxhall And I
1995 Southpaw Grammar
2004 You Are The Quarry
2006 Ringleader Of The Tormentors
2009 Years Of Refusal
2014 World Peace Is None Of Your Business
Morrissey's Best Tracks
Last Of The International Playboys
Certain People I Know
The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
Everyday Is Like Sunday
November Spawned A Monster
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Sorry Doesn't Help
"Viva Hate" Morrissey's solo debut turns out to be his best total effort. It contains two classic Morrissey songs, the somber "Everyday Is Like Sunday" and "Suedehead." A number of singles released in the late '80s are compiled on "Bona Drag." The album includes "November Spawned A Monster."
During "Something Is Squeezing My Skull," the first song on "Years Of Refusal," Morrissey sings "it's a miracle I made it this far." No kidding? Most of his '80s contemporaries are long gone. But beyond the passage of time there's Morrissey's gloomy outlook. Combined, the smart money would naturally bet against him. Oddly though, time has served Morrissey. His sage and confidence demeanor permeate "Black Cloud," "All You Need Is Me," "Sorry Doesn't Help" and "I'm OK By Myself."
While Morrissey gets a bit melodramatic on "One Day Goodbye Will Be Forever," he nails the set's big ballad "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore." The single, "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" is charming Wave pop (from such a charming man). The cocktail-ish "You Were Good In Your Time" could be self-referential except for the fact that Morrissey's era continues to be the present.