We rank Morrissey’s polarising music catalogue top to bottom.
The Smiths were undoubtedly one of the most important and influential bands of all time. Although they were only together 5 years the body of work they produced has stood the test of time 33 years after they split.
The enigmatic and controversial frontman Morrissey began a solo career in 1988. A career that has amazingly lasted six times longer than that of his band.
Recently Morrissey released his 13th studio album proper and I thought this was be a great time to reflect on his solo studio albums and see how they compare against each other.
13. Kill Uncle (1991)
Some good tracks on this but for me it’s just too forgettable. It does have it’s highlights “Our Frank” has beautifully bitter lyrics and “Sing Your Life” is a catchy rock a billy ditty.
It’s patchy overall but the album proved that he still has a “lovely singing voice”
12. Low In High School (2017)
Don’t get me wrong there’s some absolute belters on this album. “Spent The Day In Bed” is classic Morrissey and there’s one of his best ever tracks with “Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage” The video is good fun too.
For me the album suffers in the second half. It probably needs a few listens to get into but it was a struggle.
11. World Peace Is None of Your Business (2014)
Like “Low In High School” it has lows and highs. “The Bullfighter Dies” is catchy as hell.
Overall though it’s a very good album. The title track is classic Morrissey and it also has one of the greatest song titles ever with “Kick The Bride Down The Aisle”
I would actually rank this higher if it wasn’t for the presence of other albums in the Morrissey locker.
10. Maladjusted (1997)
Commercially Morrissey was on a bit of a low when this record was released in 1997 and it would be his last studio album for 7 years.
It has a couple of fillers but it’s a solid album. The title track kicks arse with it’s power. “Trouble Loves Me” is typical Morrissey beauty. A classic that should really have been a single.
9. California Son (2019)
A covers album with fantastic song choices.
Well worth a listen. My personal favourites are “Days Of Decision” “It’s Over” and “Lady Willpower”
Bob Dylans “Only A Pawn In Their Game” is done the justice it deserves too. An enjoyable listen.
8. Years Of Refusal (2009)
The album cover itself is worth a 10/10.
The opening track “Something Is Squeezing My Skull” is a breezy opener and one of my favourite Morrissey songs “All You Need Is Me” is on this too.
“You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone” he sings.
Perhaps that’s true.
7. Southpaw Grammar (1995)
Others may rank this lower but I absolutely love it.
“The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils” is an 11 minute epic of opener. “The Boy Racer” and “Dagenham Dave” are worthy choices as singles.
The sheer balls of this album is that it starts and finishes with 2 epic tracks over 10 minutes long.
6. Ringleader Of The Tormentors (2006)
The production on this is first class. Rich and full would be best way to describe it.
The album for me is uplifting although the highlight is typically acerbic lyrics with “Life Is A Pigsty”
“At Last I Am Born” he sings. At this stage of his career he probably was.
5. You Are The Quarry (2004)
The triumphant comeback album in 2004 which spawned 4 top 10 singles.
I had the pleasure of watching him live at Manchester Arena on the release of this album and it was one of the highlights of my gigging life.
“Let Me Kiss You” is beautiful. “First Of The Gang To Die” is radio perfect and “Irish Blood, English Heart” was the perfect comeback single. It was sharp, concise and to the point.
A great album.
4. Viva Hate (1988)
The start of the solo journey and has one of his most famous songs “Everyday Is Like Sunday”
A punchy opener “Alsatian Cousin” which blends into the reflective “Little Man, What Now?”
Released only a year after the final Smiths album it was an unmistakable triumph.
3. I Am Not A Dog On A Chain (2020)
Maybe a bit high some would feel due to its very recent release but It’s just brilliant.
“Jim Jim Falls” is one of the best things he’s every written. “Bobby Don’t You Think They Know” is vibrant and fresh.
The album is a sign of an artist who has definitely rediscovered his mojo.
2. Your Arsenal (1992)
After the lukewarm reception to previous album “Kill Uncle” the year before, the pressure was definitely on.
There’s a glam rock feel to this record but it also contains two of the most beautiful songs Morrissey has ever written with “Seasick, Yet Still Docked” and “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday”.
1. Vauxhall and I (1994)
It had to be for me. All killer no filler.
This classic was released in 1994 and the first single “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get” would give Morrissey another top 10 single.
The closer “Speedway” is a powerful closer to a classic album.
My favourite song on this record?All of them. Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself and give it a listen.
Words by Lee Bellfield
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Born in Manchester, live now around Heaton Moor. A football, boxing and snooker fan and support Manchester City(even before the glory days)
A big fan of gigs, music and all that come with it. I used to write for a boxing website and have previously worked for Music Zone, a job that involved listening to new releases, speaking to labels and keeping the schedule updated.