The Very Best Of Morrissey (3 stars)

The Very Best Of Morrissey

A new Morrissey collection might leave Moz fans wanting

So, from the man who once spat vitriol at record companies and bands who fobbed off fans with reissued, repackaged, re-evaluated records comes The Very Best of Morrissey, long-lost brother to 1997's Suedehead: The Best of Morrissey. More than half the tracks on this new release can be found on both and although it's reassuring to know that the definition of 'best' hasn't changed much over the decades, is it really so strange to ask for a bit more from a man who has over 20 years of post-Smiths work to choose from?

In fact, this new offering comprises a range of material from Morrissey's HMV and Parlophone albums, so the choice is limited to a certain extent. And admittedly, there are some true gems giving the old boy a degree of sparkle: drawling obsessive's favourite 'The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get', the twirling work of art that is 'November Spawned a Monster' and of course the achingly beautiful 'Everyday is Like Sunday'. However, if you're going to rip yourself off, why not go for the best you've got to give? 'Piccadilly Palare' and 'You're the One for Me, Fatty', while not masterpieces, would certainly lend a more playful, fun edge than tepid choices 'Tomorrow' and 'Interesting Drug'. However, saving the day at the very end are a rendition of 'Interlude' (sans Siouxsie Sioux) which fizzes with barely-restrained melancholy, followed by a 9-minute live cover of 'Moon River', a song tailor-made for Morrissey's yodelling croon and which fades into a dream-like fuzz of almost white noise.

It's difficult to gauge who, other than the myriad die-hard fans, the album is pitched at. The song choices vary from the too obvious ('The Last of the Famous International Playboys', to the too obscure ('Break up the Family'). And while the accompanying DVD (2011's tacky badge, perhaps?) is fine, the 11 videos featured, including a previously unreleased live 'I've Changed My Plea to Guilty', won't be new or original to anyone who owns an internet connection.

There's nothing technically wrong with the release, it's just frustrating and, perhaps, not enough for fans looking for something new. Luckily, the man himself recently talked of a follow up to 2009's 'Years of Refusal', claiming it to be 'ready and fluttering wildly against the bars'. By all means, 'The Very Best of Morrissey' would suffice as an introduction to a Moz virgin, but anyone else would be better off waiting to see what the Morrissey of 2011 has to offer.

Morrissey - The Last Of The Famous International Playboys


The former Smiths frontman and purveyor of bittersweet indie pop continues to enjoy his solo renaissance.

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