Vauxhall and Iby Morrissey
While it isn't a gutsy rock & roll record like Your Arsenal, Vauxhall and I is equally impressive. Filled with carefully constructed guitar pop gems, the album contains some of Morrissey's best material since the Smiths. Out of all of his solo albums, Vauxhall and I sounds the most like his former band, yet the textured, ringing guitar on this record is an extension of his past, not a replication of it. In fact, with songs like "Now My Heart Is Full" and "Hold on to Your Friends," Morrissey sounds more comfortable and peaceful than he ever has. And "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get," "Speedway," and "Spring-Heeled Jim" prove that he hasn't lost his vicious wit.
- Release Date:
- Warner Bros / Wea
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1994 gave gems in music. One of those was made by ex-Smiths' frontman Morrissey. ''Your Arsenal'' represented a very tall act to follow; but ''Vauxhall and I'' was Morrissey's peak (In my not-so humble opinion). What makes ''Vauxhall and I'' so special? For starters, the album is not as ambicious as its predecessor, but ironically, that non-ambition got the best results. These are witty, well crafted pop-songs, sometimes with more venom than ''Your Arsenal'' (and that record had a lot!). Second, for sensitive souls, as much as for those who seek for emotion in music, this album can become quite adictive; it is very delicious. ''Vauxhall'''s closest sibling is, without a doubt Tori Amos' ''Under The Pink''. Both albums are full of songs that are apparently accsessible, but full of vicious wit and disturbing imagery in their lyrics. Highlights in this album include: the emotional ballad ''Hold On To Your Friends'' (along with ''Arsenal'''s ''Seasick Yet Still Docked'' Moz's most beautiful ballad ever); the dark, Radiohead (''The Bends/OK Computer'' era)-esque ''Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning''; the sweetly agressive ''Spring-Heeled Jim'' and ''Speedway''; and the Belle and Sebastian-esque ''Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself. This album is definitely a pop gem. It is a high shame that it was followed by the weak, dissappointing ''Southpaw Grammar''.
I was on holiday in San Francisco when I first heard this album in 1994. A fantastic set of songs, that led to me to the almost as good follow up, Southpaw Grammar, and on to the entire Smiths back catalogue. Morrissey is often criticised for being miserable and boring. Vauxhall and I could not be further from this description. Buy this album.