Four years into an unwanted solo career, and lacking the kind of melodies such a wordsmith needs to hang his withered gladioli upon, a reboot was required.
Having assembled a youthful and far-from-virtuoso group around him in order to tour 1991’s limply polished and lyrically unfocused ‘Kill Uncle’, Morrissey wanted that band dynamic on record. With legendary guitarist Mick Ronson on production duties, the glam world the artist had studied and his producer had lived was brought back to life.
Several songs inhabit the personae of challenging characters in typically provocative fashion, whether football hooligans or members of the National Front. The latter is more pitied than condemned across one of the album’s strongest melodies, ‘The National Front Disco’.
‘Certain People I Know’ may be a shameless T. Rex rip off, but it does features a gloriously mannered Moz vocal, while ‘I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday’ is a grandiose ballad with more than a nod to Bowie’s ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide’.
As is his want, Morrissey has tinkered with the 1992 original record for this reissue, subbing out closing track ‘Tomorrow’ (original video below) for its mildly more muscular American mix, but otherwise it’s business as usual. The accompanying DVD features an early performance by this line-up, which is a mildly diverting if sonically unspectacular curio alongside a still largely splendid record.
Words: Gareth James
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Listen to ‘Your Arsenal’ in full via Deezer…