Morrissey
Viva Hate


2.5
average

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
January 16th, 2005 | 54 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist


Morrissey - Viva Hate
Released 1988.
EMI Records.

As far as indie is concerned, The Smiths owned the 80s. Each of their albums is considered a classic, and on the back of them, the Morrissey/Marr songwriting partnership is considered one of the greatest of all time. Morrissey himself is considered an icon for outsiders, and his legacy can be found in Ryan Adams, The Killers, The Ordinary Boys, The Libertines, Radiohead, Oasis....the list is huge.

Looking back, it can be hard to fathom just how important The Smiths were. It's easy to dismiss them as flowery, pretentious, and overly depressive - yet, the bands they left in their wake are anything but (we'll ignore Ryan Adams for now). It's even easier for Americans to dismiss them - Morrissey is a uniquely British wordsmith, and things tend to get lost in translation. But, to understand them, you need context.

Before The Smiths, the 80s was a horrible time to be a British student. College and university are the times when a person cares about music the most; yet, they had nobody to care about. The last British indie icon, Ian Curtis, was dead (and he was a Tory, anyway). The best indie bands - REM and Husker Du - were making waves in America. It was too distant. Then, in a whirlwind of galdioli, came THAT quiff. The Smiths represented everything the nation's students wanted in a band.

Then, 4 albums later, they split up. Johnny Marr (a shockingly under-rated guitarist) told the rest of The Smiths that he wasn't interested any more. Some have described this as 'like a death in the family'. That's an exceptionally melodramatic way of putting it, but it was a killer blow.

Soon enough, there was speculation over what would happen next. Johnny Marr disappeared completely (it took him 15 years to make a solo album). Morrissey, though, was quick o strike out on his own. The result was Viva Hate.

There've certainly been worse ways to start a career. Songs like Everyday Is Like Sunday, Suedehead, and Late Night, Maudlin Street stood up well to The Smiths' catalogue, and sounded enough like them to please those fans who'd simply wanted a new Smiths album. They still sound excellent today.

Smiths comparisons were, of course, inevitable. And that's where the album falters. It's just too much like The Smiths, and you can't ignore the fact that Johnny Marr was an essential part of that band. Without him, it just feels like an inferior carbon copy. Take, for instance, Break Up The Family. Johnny Marr was often fond of using calypso stylings in his music. Here, an attempt to emulate that translates to dated, corny percussion, not a million miles away from something like Copa Cabana. Yes, it's that corny.

Nowadays, we can look back on Viva Hate and compare it to Morrissey's later albums, too. This reveals another flaw in this album - it's too soft, too middle of the road. Morrissey's finest moments as a solo artist - Your Arsenal and You Are The Quarry, specifically - show us that he's at his best when tackling hard rock; or, at least, stuff with a bit more balls than this. Even the album's peaks, when compared to something like Irish Blood, English Heart, show up the fact that Morrissey's not playing to his strengths here.

Still, there's a lot right with Viva Hate. The lyrics, of course, are solid, with moments of sheer genius, and you'd expect from Morrissey. His voice retains all its majesty, too, when tackling the sort of melody only he could write on Suedehead.

Overall, Viva Hate is something of a difficult album. It's a snapshot of a great talent, taken at a time when he was most unsure of what he was and what he would become. He's taking his first tentative steps towards his own identity here, making it an album that fans of The Smiths and Morrissey will find fascinating, but that anyone else will probably be disinterested by.

Within The Genre - 3/5
Outside The Genre - 2/5

Recommended Tracks
Everyday is Like Sunday

One of Morrissey's most blatantly Anglocentric lyrics, this song is the story of 'the coastal down they forgot to close down'. The tale of living out boredom, day to day, amongst annoying tourists, will strike a chord with anyone who's ever lived in such a place.

Suedehead
Morrissey's first single as a solo artist. The music recalls Strangeways, Here We Come (it's the best Marr imitation on the album, without a doubt). The lyrics are fairly simple and mundane by Morrissey's standards, but the melody and the vocal make up for it.

Late Night, Maudlin Street
The longest track on the album at 7.40, Late Night, Maudlin Street is an epic, and it boasts the album's finest lyric. It could, perhaps, have made it onto The Queen Is Dead, if Johnny Marr had got his hands on it. It has all the requisite Morrissey themes; it speaks of loneliness, of emotional confusion, of gentle self-deprecation, and of an almost childish naivety, and crucially, it speaks of them directly and sincerely. (Fans of Weezer's first two albums, especially Pinkerton, really need to check out Morrissey and The Smiths.) Brilliantly, it boasts one of Morrissey's best lines - 'Complaining, women only like me for my mind'.

Further Listening
Morrissey - You Are The Quarry
Weezer - Pinkerton
Pulp - Different Class




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user ratings (212)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Tokyochuchu (5)
Quite frankly one of the best albums of all time....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
November 29th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This was just a little thing I knocked up in about 45 minutes while bored at college, so it's not my best. I should be reviewing You Are the Quarry fairly soon - that'll get a better rating than this did.



5,000 posts! :eek:

The Ashtray Girl
November 29th 2004


108 Comments


Not quite, you crazy mofo. But reply to this and there you go.

ZEROthirtythree
November 29th 2004


234 Comments


What's this further listening thing mean?

The Ashtray Girl
November 29th 2004


108 Comments


Yeah, I'm interesting by YATQ, a review of that would be greatly appreciated.

For a review you 'just knocked up' it was very good, once again.

Iai
Emeritus
November 29th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

[QUOTE=The Ashtray Girl]Yeah, I'm interesting by YATQ, a review of that would be greatly appreciated.



For a review you 'just knocked up' it was very good, once again.[/QUOTE]

Thanking you kindly.



I have the original You Are The Quarry, so I can only review that, rather than the bonus disc re-issue they're about to release. But the main album's the important thing anyway.

ZEROthirtythree
November 29th 2004


234 Comments


I'm gonna beat you to 6,000 Iai, or should I say "Nick."

:evil:

Iai
Emeritus
November 29th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

[QUOTE=ZEROthirtythree]I'm gonna beat you to 6,000 Iai, or should I say "Nick."



:evil:[/QUOTE]

You're on, Greta. ;)



Edit: I'm just beneath you on the Reputation Member's List. :eek:

- insert innuendo here -

morrissey
Moderator
November 30th 2004


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was an excellent review here. I own this record, it was the first Moz solo record which I purchased.



My favourite songs on the album... I would have to go with "Suedehead", because it was the first Moz song I ever heard... though "Late Night, Maudlin Street" is quite impressive. In fact, I like all of the songs on the album very much, except Dial-a-cliche. That was not exactly impressive.



Anyways, if I didn't own the album, you would certainly make me want to go out and buy it :thumb:.



I actually agree with your ratings, because outside of the genre, this would not be the first album I would recommend to potential Mozza/Smiths fans.

This Message Edited On 04.28.06

Tangy zizzle
November 30th 2004


253 Comments


Here's a joke:

I Viva Hate morrissey.

STLMiguel
May 24th 2006


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is Morrissey's best solo album, suckers.

morrissey
Moderator
May 24th 2006


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

kill uncle baby

STLMiguel
May 24th 2006


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like Your Arsenal. But when I think Morrissey, I think this album, not him going all glam-rock.

STLMiguel
May 24th 2006


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Morrissey, that said something about Your Arsenal like 5 seconds ago. Now my reply makes me look like a fool!



Viva hate still wins.

morrissey
Moderator
May 24th 2006


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I deleted it because I think I like Vauxhall and I more than Your Arsenal. But I'm still not sure.



edit: but basically any Morrissey album = :cool:This Message Edited On 05.24.06

Iai
Emeritus
May 24th 2006


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wow, back in the day. I was still in college, Greta could actually post in one of my threads without trolling me, Ashtray was still around, Morrissey only had about 100 posts, I only had 5,000, Med57 was still called Medopalis, reputation was still in effect....



Fun times.

morrissey
Moderator
May 26th 2006


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I used to idolise you/still do.

Sepstrup
June 2nd 2006


1567 Comments


Are the bonus tracks worth listening to, or should I just listen to the core album?

*generally hates bonus tracks*

The Jungler
August 26th 2007


4826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ugh this cover art makes me barf, the other cover is way cooler.

CD is good, but is hurt by lack of Marr. Everyday is Like Sunday is one of my favorite Smiths-related tracks of all time though.

DhA
January 22nd 2010


421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

oh please, 2.5 is a stupid rating - of course it's your opinion but you spent half the review talking about the smiths - understandable if you had written this when the cd came out but as it was written years later its unnecessary. this is way better than you're giving it credit for.

DhA
January 22nd 2010


421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

did i say he couldn't? he's entitled to his opinion and im entitled to say his opinion is shit so fuck off



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