Vauxhall and I considered Morrissey's best solo effort -- Less humour one reason?

King Leer

Leering since '97
I was thinking the other day about how secure Vauxhall and I's place at the top of Morrissey solo discography is. Sure, there are those fans who choose Your Arsenal, Viva Hate or even another of Morrissey's albums as their #1, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't at least rank Vauxhall in the top 3.

Morrissey's humour and wit is legendary, but there's not a large amount extant on this record. It's certainly not a miserable album, though it might be his most introspective. But there are no obvious laughs, puns or witticisms. At least not compared to songs found on other albums.

Is Vauxhall's more openly emotional, mature style why it's garnered so much praise from diehards, casual fans and even non-fans alike?
 

Anonymous1

Nobody knows me
I find Vauxhall to have a certain air of humor throughout, although given it tends to be more subtle in this case. For instance, songs such as 'I Am Hated For Loving', 'Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself', and 'Now My Heart Is Full' are likely never going to make anybody laugh out loud, but the lyrics are no doubt humous and could bring about laughter if presented differently.

I find this album to be very depressing, and I think it's due to the fact that it explores more emotions than just the basic depression foundation. Humor makes the cake rise, so to speak.

I believe the reason for it's unquestionable popularity is because everything works together so well. The production, the writing, the singing, the lyrics, and the presentation all flow together in perfect harmony. As much as I love all of Morrissey's solo and Smiths work, I believe this was the only album to fully come together the way an album should.

Some people like to say they prefer this album due to it's likeness of Morrissey's work with The Smiths, but I have a difficult time understanding this. While nearly all of Morrissey's solo work bears some resemblance to The Smiths, Vauxhall and I doesn't strike me and the work of Marr, Rouke, and Joyce. Instead, it's an album that demonstrates the very best of Boorer and White, and it accomplishes certain things which were left untouched by The Smiths. Overall, I'd say it fares rather nicely even when played next to The Queen Is Dead.

This being said, I am very proud of Morrissey for not trying to make a 'Vauxhall 2'. Vauxhall and I was and always will be a great album, but the only way to surpass it is to try something different and completely new.
 

the_smiths

New Member
I was thinking the other day about how secure Vauxhall and I's place at the top of Morrissey solo discography is. Sure, there are those fans who choose Your Arsenal, Viva Hate or even another of Morrissey's albums as their #1, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't at least rank Vauxhall in the top 3.

Morrissey's humour and wit is legendary, but there's not a large amount extant on this record. It's certainly not a miserable album, though it might be his most introspective. But there are no obvious laughs, puns or witticisms. At least not compared to songs found on other albums.

Is Vauxhall's more openly emotional, mature style why it's garnered so much praise from diehards, casual fans and even non-fans alike?


Would not be in my top 3.
 

Qvist

Active Member
I don't think there's less humour on Vauxhall than elsewhere, rather the contrary. A song like The lazy sunbathers is pretty humorous in form, if not ultimately in intent. There are plenty of lines elsewhere of a witty/humorous character (f.e., They know the full extent of your distress/they kneel and pray and they say/long may it last!)

The most obvious example however is Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning which in my opinion must rank as one of his most obviously funny lyrics ever, as a totally over-the-top expression of bitchy jealousy.

I do think Vauxhall is his best solo album, but I don't think it's anywhere remotely close to deserving mention in the same breath as The Queen is Dead. I find it inferior to all of the Smiths' work.

cheers
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Like someone said, it is quite humorous. But not in the common Morrissey-way.
The most of Lazy Sunbathers.
The More You Ignore Me with the line "I will be in the bar, with my head on the bar..." is quite funny I think.
That line from Why Don't You... that someone quoted above.

But the fact that the music is generally moody and sombre makes one less open to the humorous lines in the lyrics. I think that's quite a strong factor.

Finally I'd like to state that I do find it to be his best soloalbum. Quite doubtless in fact. I might even place at a no 2 spot, all in all careerwise, below The Queen Is Dead.
 

King Leer

Leering since '97
I didn't mean to imply Vauxhall was humourless, just that it had less humour than all the other albums, solo or Smiths (unless someone can argue otherwise).

The examples of humour given are very muted, even more so with the music.

I guess there are fans who can't reconcile that Morrissey with the one of Don't Make Fun of Daddy's Voice and lyrics like "Take people from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Just spare me!" (the last time I literally laughed out loud at a Moz line). I love it all.


And to member the_smiths -- you're a very rare breed.
 

Jones

Senior Member
I think there is some truth in the fact that anything with too obvious humour is not respected as "true art". Quite often when Morrissey indulges his humorous side there tends to be a sense that it's beneath him. That it's not as valid as his serious side.
 

jamescagney

Stood at the urinal
I was thinking the other day about how secure Vauxhall and I's place at the top of Morrissey solo discography is. Sure, there are those fans who choose Your Arsenal, Viva Hate or even another of Morrissey's albums as their #1, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't at least rank Vauxhall in the top 3.

Morrissey's humour and wit is legendary, but there's not a large amount extant on this record. It's certainly not a miserable album, though it might be his most introspective. But there are no obvious laughs, puns or witticisms. At least not compared to songs found on other albums.

Is Vauxhall's more openly emotional, mature style why it's garnered so much praise from diehards, casual fans and even non-fans alike?
Vauxhall is not even in my top 5, and I'm not alone, but I'll agree I may be in the minority. I think those people who put Vauxhall at the top are crazy.

I wonder if the music is part of what they like. Wikipedia describes it as "sombre" and "largely acoustic ballads." Or maybe something to do with the time and circumstances of its release... perhaps because many feel it was the best of his early albums, having been followed by Southpaw and Maladjusted and then a long hiatus, during which time fans presumably listened to his back catalog over and over, growing fonder.

It could be the lyrics too. It sticks in my mind that many Amazon reviewers who hated ROTT claimed they couldn't understand the lyrics, they were too oblique. I think some people are very literal and have trouble interpreting Morrissey's double entendres, hidden meanings and veiled personal references. Witness how Morrissey is called "the Pope of Mope" and "no fun at parties" when I and others think he's silly and funnier than many stand up comedians, in both lyrics and interviews.
 
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Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Vauxhall is not even in my top 5, and I'm not alone, but I'll agree I may be in the minority. I think those people who put Vauxhall at the top are crazy.

I wonder if the music is part of what they like. Wikipedia describes it as "sombre" and "largely acoustic ballads." Or maybe something to do with the time and circumstances of its release... perhaps because many feel it was the best of his early albums, having been followed by Southpaw and Maladjusted and then a long hiatus, during which time fans presumably listened to his back catalog over and over, growing fonder.

It could be the lyrics too. It sticks in my mind that many Amazon reviewers who hated ROTT claimed they couldn't understand the lyrics, they were too oblique. I think some people are very literal and have trouble interpreting Morrissey's double entendres, hidden meanings and veiled personal references. Witness how Morrissey is called "the Pope of Mope" and "no fun at parties" when I and others think he's silly and funnier than many stand up comedians, in both lyrics and interviews.
Not in the top 5? That's just obscene. What are you missing?
 

jamescagney

Stood at the urinal
Not in the top 5? That's just obscene. What are you missing?
I think it's what I'm seeing in the other albums that others don't seem to see. I think the other albums are just as confessional, with the humor. I just love love love the last three, and Southpaw. Arsenal might be fifth, I dunno. I'll admit an album of mostly slow ballads is unlikely to be in my top 5 anything.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
I think it's what I'm seeing in the other albums that others don't seem to see. I think the other albums are just as confessional, with the humor. I just love love love the last three, and Southpaw. Arsenal might be fifth, I dunno. I'll admit an album of mostly slow ballads is unlikely to be in my top 5 anything.
I adore his entire repertoire as well, and see the beauty in all of them. But none has the sheer brilliant beauty that Vauxhall has. But that's me.
I'll admit an album of mostly slow ballads is unlikely to be in my top 5 anything.
Oh. You're one of those... :rolleyes:
 

Qvist

Active Member
It could be the lyrics too. It sticks in my mind that many Amazon reviewers who hated ROTT claimed they couldn't understand the lyrics, they were too oblique. I think some people are very literal and have trouble interpreting Morrissey's double entendres, hidden meanings and veiled personal references. Witness how Morrissey is called "the Pope of Mope" and "no fun at parties" when I and others think he's silly and funnier than many stand up comedians, in both lyrics and interviews.
Well, I think a more common and obvious reason for disapproving of ROTT is its rather grave musical deficiencies. In my opinion, there are hardly any good tunes on it. Quite a lot of the songs just don't work - awkward, unsuccessful melodies.

cheers
 

jamescagney

Stood at the urinal
Well, I think a more common and obvious reason for disapproving of ROTT is its rather grave musical deficiencies. In my opinion, there are hardly any good tunes on it. Quite a lot of the songs just don't work - awkward, unsuccessful melodies.

cheers
As a musician myself, ROTT is my #1 fave Morrissey albums, even without the lyrics.
 

Qvist

Active Member
Well, to each his own, eh? It doesn't do anything for me, musically, with 2 or 3 exceptions. I'm not qualified to judge if the music is technically deficient, but deficient is how I experience much of it. With other weak albums, the problem is more usually a certain number of songs that are just flat, or uninteresting (Like Ammunition and Papa Jack on Maladjusted, f.e.). But on ROTT there are several that I find downright annoying. For instance, the verse in On the streets I ran. Or the chorus in "I'll never be anybody's hero now". The harmonics just seem wrong, or forced, or incoherent, grating.

In any case, I know quite a few people love it, the point was simply that I doubt it's the lyrics that is primarily responsible for the negative assessment many others seem to have of it.

think those people who put Vauxhall at the top are crazy.

I wonder if the music is part of what they like.
Er, yeah. It is. As far as I'm concerned at least, it's really very simple - there is no other Morrissey album with so many good songs on it, and so little filler (none, actually). That's really the long and the short of it, for my part. It has a certain style, but I really enjoy the full range of his musical expression. His noisiest albums, Arsenal and YOR, are both among my favorites, so I don't like it because it's "sombre" and "acoustic". The lyrics are neither markedly better or markedly worse than on other albums, or for that matter very different. It's got nothing to do with context or the passing of time - I thought it was his best album when it arrived, and I still do.

cheers
 
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Emotional Guide Dog

Chairman Of The Bored
I don't think it's especially lacking in humour.

What makes it a great album is it's the Morrissey album that sounds most like a labour of love on the part of the musicians & producer but it doesn't sound overproduced.

I'm sure the musicians have put just as much work into other Morrissey albums but people think making loud guitar music is easier than making acoustic based music so they get less credit for it.

Hmmm thinking about it, maybe it has a Smiths esque attention to detail.

I wouldn't put it in my top three Moz albums though. Towards the end of the album songs like Used To Be A Sweet Boy may have attention to detail but they lack much in the way of a tune.
 

Bluebirds

Well-Known Member
I played V&I to a non-Morrissey fan last week and they conceded it that it is a fantastic album.

Radiohead certaqinly thought so, during recording The Bends they listened to it constantly and said the mood of the record was a major influence on them in the studio.

Morrissey's finest album. Those who don't get it and prefer his later efforts are either young, foolish or happy.
 

Bluebirds

Well-Known Member
IN response to the question...

My personal opinion can be summed up in that first song:

"And I just can't explain
So I won't even try to."
 
I love every album Morrissey has ever done, right from The Smiths - Years of refusal, with about 4 songs that i skip.

But theres just something about Vauxhall and I that is inspiring to the listener and something in Morrisseys voice that makes him sound like that these words are the ones that have been wanting to come out for years. I think Vauxhall and I works brilliantly as an album aswell, with the ups and downs of the melodies and whenever i listen to the album right the way through i feel im being taken on a journey.

The Humour is very subtle, but i still find myself laughing at some of the lyrics, even though they aren't intended to be funny as some of morrisseys more whittier lyrics.

If i had to choose a morrissey album that i could only listen to from now on (including Smiths) i would choose Vauxhall and I every time
 

the_smiths

New Member
And to member the_smiths -- you're a very rare breed.

Thank you sir! (Or should that be sire?) I am a very rare breed, indeed.

First thing I would like to say is that this of course all comes down to personal preference, and that I respect the opinion of any true fan.

But to me Viva Hate, Your Arsenal and Quarry are all better albums.

I also think Bona Drag is a better album, but I know that one probably doesn't count as it's officially a compilation.

Then I come to Kill Uncle, which believe it or not, I also prefer. It's an album I've always just loved, ever since my first listen.

On top of that, I have to say, I listen to Refusal, Tormentors and Maladjusted a lot more.

One thing I can give Vaxhaul, is that it beats Southpaw lying down.

But don't get me wrong, I still think Vauxhaul is a great album.
 

the_smiths

New Member
Well, I think a more common and obvious reason for disapproving of ROTT is its rather grave musical deficiencies. In my opinion, there are hardly any good tunes on it. Quite a lot of the songs just don't work - awkward, unsuccessful melodies.

cheers

I have to disagree, my friend.

I think there are several real stand out tracks, and it works very well as an album start to finish.

I will admit though, on first listen I was slightly disappointed, but the more I listen to it, the more it grows on me, and the more I love it. To me it's just one of those albums.

Although, does anyone else find 'Dear God Please Help Me' rather disturbing?
 
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