Paste Magazine 30 Best albums of 1988 - Rank #19, Viva Hate #11


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11. Morrissey: Viva Hate
Viva Hate was released just six months after Steven Patrick Morrissey’s final Smiths studio album, Strangeways Here We Come, making one wonder if he just was hiding these songs under his pillow or what. Regardless, Moz’s solo career seamlessly extended from his band career, with iconic singles “Suadehead” and “Everyday Is Like Sunday” pleasing fans that were worried his songwriting magic might be lost without the presence of Johnny Marr and his old band. From the opening bars of “Alsation Cousin,” Morrissey embraced a darker, more confrontational sound than the bouncy tunes that often accompanied his melancholy musings with The Smiths. But his devoted flock had little to fear: the happy-music-sad-vocals returned by Track 3 (“Everyday is like Sunday / Every day is silent and gray”). —Philip Cosores

19. The Smiths: Rank
may have been created just to fulfill contractual obligations by a band that had just fallen apart thanks to internal strife, but the live album compiled some of the Smiths’ greatest hits the same year Morrissey headed his own strange way with Viva Hate. The 16 songs here were recorded at the National Ballroom in London in 1986, just before the band broke up, and if the members didn’t like each other, it didn’t come through in the music. Rather, it didn’t hurt the music. A brazen “The Queen Is Dead” opens with the kind of fury that often gets scraped away from great rock bands in the studio, with Johnny Marr’s screaming-psych guitar and Mike Joyce’s drums lurching the band forward. Morrissey, in particular, was flying high on this night in London, leading the group through an aggressive set of fan favorites with an almost unhinged flair that more or less defined the ‘80s in England and gave fans their only official live Smiths album. The only question is how some of The Smiths’ true masterpieces, like “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” and “How Soon Is Now?,” were left on the editing floor. —Josh Jackson
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