8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of the 2012 remaster
'Viva Hate' is Morrissey's début solo album. Remarkably, it was released only six months after The Smiths' final L.P., Strangeways, Here We Come. Beginning production so soon after breaking up with his former band, Morrissey had a huge amount riding on this album, and he was keen to take it into an entirely new musical direction. 'Viva Hate' was released in 1988 to...
Published 20 months ago by Alan the Kaz
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Butchered, mutilated, reduced and diminished for 2012
24 years after it came out, Morrissey's spectacular but flawed debut gets a sad and unhappy reworking.
Originally, EMI wanted to release a deluxe, unsurpassable 3 disc set of this : the album as is, remastered. The six b-sides, 10 circulating demos, and extra, unreleased material on the other. And, on a DVD, finally, Morrissey's first ever solo live...
Published 20 months ago by Mr. M. A. Reed
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Butchered, mutilated, reduced and diminished for 2012,
This review is from: Viva Hate (Audio CD)24 years after it came out, Morrissey's spectacular but flawed debut gets a sad and unhappy reworking.
Originally, EMI wanted to release a deluxe, unsurpassable 3 disc set of this : the album as is, remastered. The six b-sides, 10 circulating demos, and extra, unreleased material on the other. And, on a DVD, finally, Morrissey's first ever solo live performance, and his last with Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce, and Craig Gannon. (Also perhaps, notable for being the first time a band performed a show where the singer was being sued by every other member of the band, individually, at the same time).
Morrissey had a better idea. Re-release the album. Change the covers. Delete one song, and replace it with a poor, unfinished demo. And slice off the beginning and end of "Late Night. Maudlin Street", just for effect.
And frankly, it stinks.
Why does an artist feel the need to revise and butcher his existing work? Why would he? What possible motive is there? You can't airbrush out history. You cannot pretend these songs do not exist. And when you replace the beautiful, and immaculately constructed "The Ordinary Boys", with the forgotten for 20 years, and forgettable, "Treat Me Like A Human Being", I wonder, does this make this record better? Of course not.
From the off, "Viva Hate" is a flawed record. The song selection omits some of the better songs and relegates them to b-sides : "Hairdresser on Fire", "Sister I'm A Poet", "Will Never Marry", "Disappointed", easily the equal of anything on the album itself, all absent. In their place, the moribund, and dirgelike "Bengali In Platforms", the tired and delicate "Dial-A-Cliche", or the frankly histronic "Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together". In it's original form, "Viva Hate" was a strong record, albeit with an uneven running order and a sense of inert depression : it could've been a much stronger, better record, more muscular and lively, with a different running order. But not exactly by taking "The Ordinary Boys" off and replacing with not-even-good-enough-to-be-a-b-side of "Treat me Like A Human Being" is baffling.
In no way is this anything other than a mutilated re-presentation of the album, with material missing and songs removed, and substandard, unfinished material in its place. A wasted opportunity. A squandered moment where Morrissey could have given the world what it wanted, which was a full and bountiful selection from Morrissey's astoundingly impressive debut indian summer. Instead, he gave us a castrated and unsatisfactory record that actually devalues the original record and makes "Viva Hate" less than it was originally was.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why meddle with a masterpiece?,
This review is from: Viva Hate (Audio CD)I idolise him and adore this sublime debut album, but... why, oh why, Morrissey?
Why hack at the original? Why have cotton when you can have silk? Why have Value Brown Sauce when you can have HP?
I was on the verge of ordering this but then I discovered the act of senseless butchery in removing The Ordinary Boys and replacing it with, well, crap. Stephen Street is perfectly entitled to complain - it's simply an act of senseless spite.
Wrong and unforgiveable. Morrissey, have you lost your mind?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Butchered by your OWN hands!,
This review is from: Viva Hate (Audio CD)What a disappointment to have such a classic debut album to be butchered by the artist himself! Whether it was done to prevent former associates from getting paid, that's not event the question. If only Moz had allowed EMI's original idea of a 3 Disc release to be so. One can't keep bitching about not charting high on such releases when one is the main reason such things don't happen by putting one's fans off with such mediocre release! It's quite sad, to say the least. I do hope EMI gets to release its original concept down the road. And for heaven's sake Morrissey, stop butchering your own albums!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of the 2012 remaster,
This review is from: Viva Hate (Audio CD)'Viva Hate' is Morrissey's début solo album. Remarkably, it was released only six months after The Smiths' final L.P., Strangeways, Here We Come. Beginning production so soon after breaking up with his former band, Morrissey had a huge amount riding on this album, and he was keen to take it into an entirely new musical direction. 'Viva Hate' was released in 1988 to critical acclaim, and opened up Morrissey to a level of mainstream recognition that he hadn't achieved with his previous band. Two singles released from this album, 'Suedehead', and the sublime 'Everyday is Like Sunday', both reached the Top 10, and endure as two of Morrissey's most famous and loved songs (solo or otherwise). Although it isn't generally regarded as Morrissey's solo "masterpiece" (that accolade is normally given to Vauxhall and I), it remains one of his finest moments.
'Viva Hate' was previously re-released as an EMI Centenary Edition in 1997, with eight bonus tracks. This edition was criticised for its inclusion of bonus tracks that were unrelated to the 'Viva Hate' recording sessions, and for ditching the iconic original cover. In 2009, Morrissey began revisiting his back-catalogue with an (at the time of writing) on-going remastering project. It seemed that 'Viva Hate' would finally get the re-release it deserved, especially as the original producer/co-writer, Steven Street, was attached to it. In fact, the original intention was for a three-disc special edition, featuring bonus tracks and, for the first time, Morrissey's first solo concert on CD. It could have been incredible. Unfortunately, Morrissey being Morrissey, this isn't quite what we got. The two extra discs have been replaced with one bonus track, 'Treat Me Like a Human Being', a demo that was already included as a B-side for a 2011 single re-release. As if that wasn't disappointing enough, said "bonus track" actually replaces one of the album's existing tracks, 'The Ordinary Boys'.
As far as I'm aware, Morrissey is the only artist who actually removes songs from his re-releases. He pulled the same stunt with the 2009 remaster of Maladjusted. It speaks volumes about how highly regarded this album is compared to 'Maladjusted', as the reaction against culling two songs from the latter pales in comparison to the outcry against removing one song from this. Although I like it, 'The Ordinary Boys' wasn't exactly considered a highpoint on Viva Hate by most fans (although the popular band, who named themselves after it, might disagree), but to remove it from such an important and loved album is akin to rewriting history. Furthermore, the demo that now replaces it is merely "okay", and ultimately forgettable. Its roughness actually stands out like a sore thumb when it suddenly plays amidst the beautifully remastered songs that surround it.
The other controversy is that 'Late Night, Maudlin Street', oft-considered one of Morrissey's finest songs, has been trimmed down (or, in the words of Stephen Street, "butchered") from 7:40 mins to 6:55. I was hugely worried about this at first, but after listening to it, I no longer mind so much (though I would have preferred it if it hadn't been cut down). Specifically, the first five seconds, and the last 40, have been dropped. But the remaster itself is absolutely incredible. I would definitely advise anyone who's not heard it before to listen to the remaster of this song over the complete version. On a related note, I should point out that the intro to 'Suedehead', which, bizarrely, was dropped in the Bona Drag remaster, returns here.
And, so, we're left with a conundrum. This is actually a stunning remaster of a great album. Listening to these songs through my good-quality headphones was a sublime experience for me. Had this just been a remastering job without any bonus tracks, nobody would have seriously complained. But anybody considering purchasing 'Viva Hate' for the first time now needs to consider whether to listen to it how it was originally, or if they want the beautiful, but incomplete, remaster. In my opinion, a 'Viva Hate' with any track replaced with a shoddy demo is not the real 'Viva Hate', and this is an enormous shame. Hopefully, Morrissey will sort this out with the "30th Anniversary Edition" in 2018...
2.0 out of 5 stars LOUDER is not better,
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva Hate = 1988,
A song is as good as its memories and for this reason alone Viva Hate is fantastic. I bought it at a very happy time of my life and one memory of it is falling asleep nicely bladdered having spent the evening getting to know some of York's finest hosteries and also getting to know my (then) new girlie! But wo, let's discuss the record!
It contains two of Morrissey's - and the Smiths' - finest singles: Suedehead (as good as any single the Smiths released) and the wonderful Every Day Is Like Sunday. On the former, it is clear that Steven Street &/or Vini Reilly is trying to be Johnny Marr. (Vini Reilly doesn't have to be anyone but himself.) Morrissey probably tried too hard with some of the lyrics, losing some of the humour so inherent in the Smiths' output. But Late Night, Maudlin Street paints a picture in your head and I like the production of both this song and the album in general. The stereo-panned delay on the guitars is a trademark of this album (Vini Reilly might have patented it). I also love Little Man What Now - is it about that horrible programme What's My Line where some person has to answer yes/no questions from a d-grade celebrity panel as to what that person's job is? Sounds like it to me (I'm probably a million miles away....).
Angel, Angel Down We Go Together, with glissando cellos is superb and lyrically it's similar to what you'd expect from the Smiths, but Marr's guitars have been replaced by string quartets and in songs like Dial A Cliche, horns. But when guitars are required, they form a strong basis on which the lyrics sit: I Don't Mind If You Forget Me (nearest to a throw away track) and the album's strange opener Alsation Cousin. The guitaring is more fussy and one can only wonder what Marr would have done to these songs (but, I remind myself this is Morrissey).
The Ordinary Boys is an album filler but pleasant enough and the album closes with Margaret On The Guillotine. Well, it was the Thatcher dominated 80s and I always found this song more funny, almost in a wry sense, than anything else. I remember one major policeman wanted Morrissey hung and quartered for writing this!
Bengali In Platforms. I'm not going to say anything because this song has already had far more attention than it deserves. Sometimes though, Morrissey seems to come up with better song titles than the songs themselves.
So there you have it. An album that I've played to death and rate in my top ten records of all time. Just a few bars of Suedehead and I'm stood inside The Spread Eagle getting sloshed, Thursday 31st March 1988. Fab!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ninteen eighty-hate.,
This review is from: MORRISSEY-VIVA HATE (Audio CD)Viva Hate was Morrissey's debut solo album, The Smiths split in the autumn of 1987 and this excellent first offering from Mozzer followed 6 months later. Viva Hate reunites Morrissey with producer Stephen Street (who produced The Smiths final studio album:- "Strangeways here we come"), and the two combine with excellent guitarist Vinni Reilly to brilliantly craft together some superb songs, notably "Suedehead", "Everyday Is Like Sunday", "Late Night, Maudlin Street" and "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me". Viva Hate gives us a hint as to what The Smiths would've sounded like if they carried on for one more album, and as with most Smiths albums there aren't any weak songs here and Morrissey is lyrically in a league of his own.
The album reached number one in the UK charts (something The Smiths only did once), and put Morrissey the solo star firmly on the map. There have been many solo albums from Mozzer since 1988, but few have reached the heights Viva Hate scaled over 20 years ago. This album really has everything, it's well-produced, features superb musicians and showcases Morrissey at his peak. Definitely recommended, especially if you've got into The Smiths recently and want to explore further with Morrissey's solo catalogue.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Morrissey's best solo work.,
By A Customer
This review is from: MORRISSEY-VIVA HATE (Audio CD)Morrissey's first, and arguably(Vauxhaul and I also being of a very high quality) his best album since the break-up of The Smiths. It contains a large variety of music, with highlights being 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' and 'Late Night, Maudlin Street'.
The album is full of Morrissey's customary intelligent, witty, often ambiguous lyrics (some labelled 'Bengali in Platforms' as a racist song without looking into its content).
On the whole, a superb album from a superb artist. Anyone who wants to discover the largest single influence on 90s, and indeed present day bands should look no further than the work of Morrissey.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked but Essential,
This review is from: Viva Hate [VINYL] (Vinyl)This was Morrissey's first post-Smiths album, and a strange, complex and intriguing piece it is too. Less artfully contructed than future works, principally "Your Arsenal" and "Vauxhall & I", "Viva Hate" nevertheless manages to equal them in quality, mainly through the sense of experimentation pervading the album, which Morrissey never really returned to. The gulf created by the departure of Johnny Marr made possible musical contributions - "Break Up the Family" and the lengthy, autobiographical closing track "Late Night Maudlin Street" stand out particularly - which are positively avant-garde by Morrissey standards, including (gasp!) the use of electronics, even. Lyrically, too, the mood is candid, and the quality excellent (although eyebrows were raised, rightly or wrongly, at some of the more political content expounded within).
This LP is Morrissey feeling his way around a new Marr-less creative mode. He eventually found a self-mythologising formula that worked, of course, but this preparatory work has a charm all of its own.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to Morrissey's solo career,
I needn't have bothered worrying, the album is stronger than it has any right to be. He had been working with erstwhile Smiths producer Stephen Street, and guitar genius Vini Reilly (of Durutti Column). The album kicks off with the heavy Alsatian Cousin, which followed on nicely from heavier Smiths tracks like I Started Something I Couldn't Finish. There is some wonderful imagery here - "leather elbows on a tweed coat, oh is THAT the best you can do?" After the vaguely Spanish sounding ode to a forgotten TV star Little Man, What Now? (Morrissey loves to throw in commas in his song titles!) came one of his most popular and enduring singles, Everyday Is Like Sunday, with soaring strings and an uplifting melody, sort of in the vein of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.
Bengali in Platforms was criticised at the time for some semi-racist overtones but the tune itself is pleasant enough, and following track Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together is a pleasing bit of melodrama that some interpreted as an ode to Johnny Marr. Not that Morrissey would ever admit it.
Album centrepiece Late Night, Maudlin Street is a seven minute epic tale of growing up, late night brushes with the law, and moving house. It features classic self-loathing Morrissey lyrics ("when the world's ugliest boy became what you see, here I am, the ugliest man", amongst many others) and some lovely piano (Street) and guitar touches from Reilly. When this was released, I actually was "moving house" and did feel like "a half-life was disappearing."
After the poppy single Suedehead the album takes a bit of a dip in quality. Break Up the Family is quite pleasing though with some nice guitar over some bongos and a great vocal performance by Morrissey. Here shades of optimism take over in the lyrics - "I'm so glad to grow older, to move away from those darker years." The next 2 tracks are comparably weak, The Ordinary Boys being a piano-led song without a very good tune basically, while I Don't Mind If You Forget Me is basically a watered down version of the Smiths' You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby.
Dial-A-Cliché is great, with some lovely guitar lines and a nice bit of French horn, while closing track Margaret On the Guillotine brings Morrissey's loathing of Thatcher to its logical conclusion. It's a simple enough tune and lyrics that leave nothing to the imagination ("when will you die"). The song continues for a bit with some nice guitar touches before ending abruptly with the aforementioned guillotine.
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