Morrissey - Bona Drag

Twenty years. Has it really been twenty years? The mighty quiff may be receding but one thing is for certain, Morrisssey remains a national institution. And if you have forgotten what a brilliantly cutting lyricist he is, what a talent, with that Beluga caviar voice of his crooning in your ear, then this re-issued collection of early solo material (boosted by a generous collection of bonus tracks) will be a not so gentle reminder.

For those already familiar with the songs but not necessarily the track order, take my advice and don't look at the sleevenotes. Instead, listen to the CD as you would listen to the pub jukebox and allow that butterfly feeling in your stomach when your song comes on and you make everyone at the table stop talking until it ends. When the wolf-cries and burlesque intro of 'Piccadilly Palare' rolls in it will be like a reunion with a long lost friend. The wonderful 'Interesting Drug' follows, Mozzer's lush vocals making the catty lyrics sound like a love song: "There are some bad people on the rise / They're saving their own skins by ruining people's lives." Then the nugget that is 'November Spawned A Monster' will have you slicking back your hair and prostrating round your living room like a forlorn Messiah.

They are all here: 'The Last Of The International Playboys' (performed for a hysterical and adoring crowd during his last tour), 'Ouija Board, Ouija Board' (the song that helped break him as a solo artist in the States), the masterpiece that is 'Everyday Is Like Sunday', so exquisitely beautiful it is almost painful, and of course 'Suedehead'. By this time you are no doubt swishing gladiolas around your living room in careless abandon.

But the fun doesn't stop there, with the bonus material drawn from outtakes from the first three years of the solo career. The whimsical 'Happy Lovers', from the 'Everyday is Like Sunday' sessions, and the fabulous 'Please Help the Cause Against Loneliness' (from the Viva Hate period) are but two of the highlights.

This collection is nothing but a joy, Morrissey preserved forever as that posing, quiffed 'Pope Of Mope' we love. Bona Drag is bona fide.

Overall

9

out of 10

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