Morrissey - Viva Hate (Cover Artwork)


Morrissey: Viva HateViva Hate (1988)

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: gunsontheroofgunsontheroof
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Within six months of the Smiths' breakup and only three months after the posthumous release of the swan song Strangeways, Here We Come, Morrissey was back in the studio with former Smiths producer Stephen Street behind the boards, and new songwriting partner Vini Reilly of the Durutti Column steppin.
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Within six months of the Smiths' breakup and only three months after the posthumous release of the swan song Strangeways, Here We Come, Morrissey was back in the studio with former Smiths producer Stephen Street behind the boards, and new songwriting partner Vini Reilly of the Durutti Column stepping into the large shoes of guitar god Johnny Marr. Right from the get-go, the distorted guitar wail and pulsating beat of "Alsatian Cousin" should make it readily apparent to the listener that Reilly is not trying to replace Marr, nor are Morrissey and Street trying in any way to recreate the Smiths' sound. That is not to say, however, that Viva Hate has nothing to offer your diehard Smiths fans. The album's two singles, "Suedehead" and "Every Day Is Like Sunday" are classic mopers which can hold their own against any Morrissey-Marr composition, and remain to this day two of his most loved and iconic songs. While he is not known particularly for his humor or for writing light-hearted songs, he proved himself more than capable of both back in the Smiths with songs like "Ask" and "Sheila Take a Bow"; the U.S.-only bonus track "Hairdresser on Fire" is, like the aforementioned Smiths songs, at times empathetic, vain, and laugh-out-loud funny. Oh, and catchy as fuck.

There are a few songs on Viva Hate that, maybe just by coincidence, do sound like classic Morrissey, Marr, Rourke, and Joyce. The Mozfather's pointed wit and trademark targeting of public officials we grew to love on The Queen Is Dead is here tenfold in "Margaret on the Guillotine". Two songs in particular, "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me" and "Break Up the Family", the latter with lyrics like "I'm so glad to grow older / to move away from these younger years," address the Smiths breakup less than subtly. "I Don't Mind" is a rolling, rollicking tune reminiscent of "London", and Reilly's constant shredding adds a nice touch, while "Break Up" is a softer, mid-tempo track that recalls some of the slower tracks on the Smiths' 1984 self-titled debut.

It is lamentable that so many say they "love the Smiths but could never get into Morrissey's solo stuff," and that they "don't know where to start." I hope with this review, I can convince even the most skeptical Smiths fan that it is as easy as starting from the very beginning, with Viva Hate.


People who liked this also liked:
The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We ComeDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Smiths - The Queen Is DeadJawbreaker - Dear YouMorrissey - Years of RefusalJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyFrank Turner - Love, Ire and SongThe Smiths - Meat is MurderAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseJoyce Manor - Joyce Manor

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
gunsontheroof (October 6, 2011)

drgunn, i agree with you completely. i didn't say moz isn't usually funny, but that, like you said, the humor in his songs is often overlooked by people who aren't huge fans.

DrGunn (March 6, 2011)

i would violently disagree that Moz is not usually funny. heaven knows... is a great example of his humorous side. in fact i would argue that almost all of his songs contain some tongue-in-cheek, dry british humor. this aspect of his work gets too often overlooked IMO.

R3vengeTherapy (March 5, 2011)

One of the best albums ever. This is equal to The Smiths stuff in every way, except The Queen Is Dead (because it is my absolute favorite record of all-time); it's like Moz was riding some huge wave of momentum all throughout the 80's. However, Bona Drag actually tops it, even though it's not technically an "album."

DrGunn (March 5, 2011)

i love the shit out of this album. vauxhall & i is his best, but this is still phenomenal. love the production, love the feel of the album. great pop songwriting, great playing, great lyrics, great everything.

palpitations101 (March 5, 2011)

I don't get it. Boo-urns. That goes for the Smiths as well. I don't see what he, or The Smiths have done, that their peers did not do 10X better.

inagreendase (March 5, 2011)

One of his better albums. Couldn't go near the five-star route with this, though. Meat Is Murder beats the best Morrissey album, and that's only the Smiths' third best.

JerryCola (March 4, 2011)

"Did I Mention That I Cried"

burntorangepeel (March 4, 2011)

"He's got a mouth fulla cookies."

TheDancingMachine (March 4, 2011)

I don't think I love anything as much as some people love Morrissey.

scorpiondeathlock (March 4, 2011)

cant top the moz.

Sick_Nick (March 4, 2011)

Good review, glad to see Morrissey being reviewed here.

Surprised you didn't mention the song "Bengali In Platforms" another great song on this album.

alpod4 (March 4, 2011)

didn't read the review. just assumed this reviewer is a fucktard for not giving this 5 stars.

mattramone (March 4, 2011)

This record is so fucking amazing.

thepopeofchili-town (March 4, 2011)

There's not a lot of albums that truly deserve five stars. This is one of them.

d_boons_ghost (March 4, 2011)

I had no idea that Vini Reilly had anything to do with this album. That just makes complete sense. One of the best guitar players ever.

kidgotham (March 4, 2011)

This is essential Morrissey.

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