Morrissey
Bona Drag


4.5
superb

Review

by DariusBlue USER (7 Reviews)
October 1st, 2007 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The first and best compilation of Morrissey's early career of singles and b-sides. There are some throwaways and notable exclusions but it captures Morrissey better than Viva Hate.

The Smiths split in late 1987 and Morrissey, hurt and confused, threw himself into his work and it is best heard on this compilation from 1990.

Piccadilly Palare is a swaggering pop song with confident vocals from Morrissey and a strong opener. Interesting Drug is a standard song spoiled by its controversy regarding its co-writer, Stephen Street. The pair never worked together again despite being Morrissey's second-best songwriting partner. The album really gets going with November Spawned A Monster, the hardest-rocking song on the album and its longest at 5:25. The subject, a disabled child, is another example of Morrissey's recklessness regarding subjects. The key lines are saved for last, "oh, one fine day, let it be soon, she won't be rich or beautiful, but she'll be walking your streets in the clothes that she went out and chose for herself." The switches between revulsion, sympathy and black comedy force the listener to confront their prejudices. The disturbing gurgles and howls from Mary Margaret O'Hara say everything Morrissey doesn't need to sing.

Will Never Marry is a self-explanatory string-laden ballad and Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference is nursery rhyme-like song about random acts of kindness and simple pleasures, before building up to a plea for tolerance to a chain-wielding thug before sighing in resignation and flatly observing "most people keep their brains between their legs." A sweet, short throwaway. One of Morrissey's masterpieces is next, the chugging glam-rock of The Last Of The Famous International Playboys is his most controversial song as most people believed he was a sociopathic, serial killer-worshipping lunatic. You can't miss the song's major point when he sings "in our lifetime those who kill, the news world hands them stardom" and in the context of Peter Sutcliffe or Ian Brady it is not exactly a love letter to Ronnie Kray. Ouija Board, Ouija Board is a below-standard whine about a departed friend, the funny bit coming when he sings "it spells S-T-E-V-E-N."

Hairdresser On Fire is excellent and amazingly, a b-side. It starts as a piano-and-strings ballad about London before turning into a chiming mid-tempo pop song about London. The follow-up, Everyday Is Like Sunday is even better, a gorgeous, melodic, well-arranged farewell to the British tradition of the seaside. A genuinely lovely song and strangely universal, it's an example of Morrissey's exceptional ear for melody and lyrics, which is rarely said about him.

He Knows I'd Love To See Him is a ballad about the end of the Morrissey/Marr partnership, singing "he knows I'd love to see him happy or as close as possible" and is a strong vocal performance as he sighs at the end "he doesn't know". Yes, I Am Blind is a clue to what the sound of a post-Marr Smiths might have sounded like, co-written with Andy Rourke, it's an account of someone doomed to only see life's injustices and pleas for a saviour as he sings "God come down if you're really there, well you're the one who claims to care."

Lucky Lisp is another short, sweet b-side but debut single Suedehead is next and it's simply the loveliest melody Morrissey sang over, The Smiths notwithstanding. Morrissey states the song is about his life circa 1972. The ending is rather controversial, is he singing "good lay, good lay" or "bootleg, bootleg"?

Disappointed is a superb closer, the shimmering riff is perfect for Morrissey's offhand magic as he sings "to say the least, truly disappointed" and harsh truths like "don't talk to me, no, about people who are nice, for I've spent my whole life in ruins because of people who are nice." The funniest Morrissey moment ever is at the close, when he claims "this is the last song I will ever sing" the crowd cheers before he sings "no, I've changed my mind again!" the crowd "aahs" in disappointment before Morrissey gleefully takes his bow - "goodnight and thank you!"

Bona Drag is an excellent compilation and a must-buy for fans of Morrissey and pre-Britpop indie.

Key tracks:

Everyday Is Like Sunday
The Last Of The Famous International Playboys
Suedehead
November Spawned A Monster
Hairdresser On Fire



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user ratings (155)
4.2
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Jom
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2007


3264 Comments


Great job, dude, welcome.

morrissey
Moderator
May 8th 2008


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I somehow missed this in my absence.



Nice work, any contribution to expanding the Morrissey vault here is a welcome addition.

Thunderkat
March 24th 2014


579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is the best Morrissey.

Thunderkat
June 25th 2014


579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bought the Remastered version on vinyl, it is so amazing

TheBarber
August 19th 2014


4008 Comments


caught this today for a fiver and there's some sweet tunes here

Digging: Lil Ugly Mane - VOLCANIC BIRD ENEMY AND THE VOICED CONCERN

Thunderkat
September 9th 2014


579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this rules so much

bach
September 9th 2014


16286 Comments


thunderkat u a rill one

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 11th 2014


45811 Comments


Lucky Lisp is a goddamn jam

Digging: Lil Ugly Mane - VOLCANIC BIRD ENEMY AND THE VOICED CONCERN

Thunderkat
September 11th 2014


579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It all rules. Picadilly palare remastered long version rules

NorthernSkylark
September 11th 2014


11708 Comments


how good is his new compared to this??

Digging: Memoryhouse - The Years

Thunderkat
September 11th 2014


579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is on par with the smiths, that's all I gotta say

Thunderkat
September 11th 2014


579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh hmmm new moz and old moz is different

oltnabrick
March 8th 2015


40390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such things I do, just to make myself more attractive to you







HAVE I FAILED?

Digging: Five Finger Posse - The Fatal Sting

bach
March 8th 2015


16286 Comments


pooooor twisted chiiiild
soooo ugly sooooo ugly

AmericanFlagAsh
February 14th 2016


10476 Comments


Such things I do
Just to make myself more attractive to you

Digging: Magdalena Bay - Mercurial World

zakalwe
September 13th 2017


34834 Comments


It's all classic

beefshoes
December 14th 2020


8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Honestly better than most of the LPs from The Smiths



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