Completely agree with you there. The vast majority of songs from the solo years would be fairly uninteresting as instrumentals. And there is the added complication of how much the producers contributed to make certain songs work.See, this is where I think judging things are very tricky. Yes, there are tracks that clearly stand out as great musically, even without the vocal line (eg The More You Ignore Me, First of the Gang, pretty much everything Marr wrote), but in other places, who gets the blame? Morrissey's voice, lyrics and melody frequently transforms pretty standard musical backings into great songs, but sometimes the reverse is true.
Is 'Journalists Who Lie' objectively that much crapper musically than most of Street's compositions - or did Moz just not bring his A-game to that particular song?