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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the ultimate highlight of his career.
This is, quite possibly, the best Morrissey solo album. Indeed, there is stiff competition from 1992's heavier Your Arsenal and then, more recently, You are the Quarry, but still, this 1994 release remains something of a pinnacle within the context of his career.
Vauxhall & I was released during the period in which Morrissey still found favour amongst the record...
Published on 21 Aug. 2005 by Jonathan James Romley

versus
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor "Definitive" Remaster
DON'T PANIC! Fellow Moz acolytes. The two stars given above are for this very dismal effort of a 20th anniversary, definitive remaster from Warner Bros.

The music is still the absolute best of Morrissey's solo career to date. There's not a wasted syllable or musical note on it. Wonderful from start to finish.

However, those fans thinking of diving in...
Published 11 months ago by David Robb


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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the ultimate highlight of his career., 21 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
This is, quite possibly, the best Morrissey solo album. Indeed, there is stiff competition from 1992's heavier Your Arsenal and then, more recently, You are the Quarry, but still, this 1994 release remains something of a pinnacle within the context of his career.
Vauxhall & I was released during the period in which Morrissey still found favour amongst the record buying public - no doubt clinging to the nostalgia of the Smiths - though it was clear that the music press, particularly those at the NME, were poised for a break towards the retro sounds of Britpop, and the whole Blur versus Oasis debacle in general. This was also the period in which Morrissey found himself accused of racism due to the content of songs like Asian Rut, Bengali in Platforms and the National Front Disco, whilst his flirtation with nationalist iconography, Union Jacks and so-on, made those in the press feel slightly uncomfortable. All these factors now seem silly when looked at a decade on, and merely detracted from the greatness of this album and, in effect, soured a time when Morrissey should have been as celebrated as the likes of Paul Weller and Joe Strummer, etc. Instead, the negative press would lead him to those two difficult albums (Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted), a bust up with his record label, and eventually, his exile from Britain.
This is a sad fact, since Vauxhall & I remains one of the best albums of the last decade, and is the one that, along with Viva Hate, remains the best introduction to the wonders of Morrissey solo. The album as a whole has a great sound to it, with Morrissey once again writing with guitarists Boz Boorer and Alain Whyte, who here craft a series of intoxicating textures for the singer to couple his wordy and evocative tales of woe. There's also a great sense of cohesion, with Morrissey using the songs to analyse a set theme, whilst sound samples are used to heighten the atmosphere... all supervised by Steve Lillywhite, who here, for the first of three albums with Morrissey, does some of the best production work of his career.
His presence gives the record an almost conceptual flow, though none of the subtle instrumental touches are lost within the mire of creativity; with opening track Now My Heart is Full capturing both Morrissey and the band at something approaching an artistic peak. The melody is stunning, whilst the lyrics give us swathes of that trademark melancholic romanticism, with evocative verses that conjure real images in our mind. There are even nods towards Graham Greene's classic novel Brighton Rock, with the chorus "Dallow, Spicer, Pinkie, Cubitt, all the jammy Stressford poets, loafing oafs in all night chemists... ah, but Bunny I loved you!!"... all adding up to create possibly the greatest four minutes and fifty-seven seconds that Morrissey has ever created.
Meanwhile, Spring Heeled Jim covers a similar subject matter as the previous track (that being street crime and wayward/misspent youth), but with a sonic-soundscape that is as far removed from anything he ever created with the Smiths (...the whole song features non-stop sound-samples from an old British crime film - the title of which escapes me - which helps to give the track an even greater sense of narrative flow!!). Billy Budd is a more up-temp number and feels like a throwback to the harder, Mick Ronson-produced sound of Your Arsenal... certainly at odds with the lulled, distorted melodies found herein, but still, a great track; bringing to mind old classics like We Hate it When Our Friends Become Successful and Glamorous Glue. Both Hold on to Your Friends and Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself offer up that trademark Morrissey sound and, along with one of the album's all-time high-points, I am Hated for Loving, shows Morrissey in a confident, reinvigorated light. The record manages to maintain a dreamlike feeling throughout, but also offers more than enough moments of pure alternative perfection, with big single of the time, The More You Ignore Me the Closer I Get, even managing to dent the UK top ten, as well as offering an early prophetic glimpse of Morrissey's views surrounding the legendary Smiths' court case, with the lyric "I bear more grudges, than lonely high court judges".
Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Downing is an atmospheric downer that shows Morrissey making allusions to progressive-rock (something that would become more pronounced, to an extent, on the next album), whilst mumbling almost spoken-word vocals and lyrics that take their inspiration from writers like Douglas Coupland and Stevie Smith ("it was only a test, but she swam too far against the tide... she deserves all she gets") and can be seen in continuation with the summery, though, at the same time, completely threatening, The Lazy Sunbathers (with the great refrain "please, keep the noise down low..."). This of course primes us for that great closing number, Speedway, which is another harder-sounding track, with guitars that sound like chainsaws (...though I think the desired effect was supposed to be motorcycle engines) and, as ever, some extraordinary lyrics.
As stated before, Vauxhall & I represents Morrissey's best strengths as both a vocal performer and as a lyricist, and features some of his best ever songs. Although, it must be stressed that those just discovering Morrissey following the commercial success of You Are the Quarry should probably try Viva Hate and the compilation Bona Drag first - which show Morrissey working with a style that is closer to the Smiths - those looking for something that elaborates on that sound (not to mention being a little more emotionally expressive) should proceed directly to this masterpiece right here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Full Of Passion, Wit And Wisdom', 14 April 2007
By 
Antony May (East Sussex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
'Vauxhall And I' is widely regarded as Morrissey's best album and listening to it it's easy to see why. Not only does it include some of the great man's best ever solo tracks, this collection also works tremendously well as an album listen too. Opener 'Now My Heart Is Full' pretty much sets the standard really and many people will be able to relate to the lyrics. 'Spring Heeled Jim' is another Mozzer classic and the clever use of samples on the track ably assist Morrissey in making his point about the distainful way that most teenagers seem to view the law these days and how ridiculously light sentences are. My personal favourite on the album though is the poignant mid-tempo 'Hold Onto Your Friends' which in a fair world would have been a no1 hit just for creatiive merit alone and will be regarded by anyone that's ever been let down by someone they considered a close friend as a song that evokes mixed feelings within them. Also especially good here are 'Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself', 'I Am Hated For Loving' and single 'The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get'. If you have even the slightest interest in Morrissey you should own this album it really is that simple!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one Morrissey album ...., 25 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
This album is the best piece of work that Morrissey has produced certainly post Smiths but in my view inclusive of the Smiths back catalogue. Morrissey again teams up with Alan White & Boz Boorer who co-wrote on "Your Arsenal" to produce songs of stature, feeling and depth far removed from the Rockabilly style of the previous outing. There are some seminal tracks, though for me Spring Heeled Jim, is outstanding,with its wailing wall of guitars and murmur of East end voices underneath. Now my heart is full is an beautiful opener and Speedway opening with a chainsaw and ending with the hammer of reverbed drums is a splendid close to this album. The production is superb and live performances of material since have had difficulty capturing the sentiment of the album which is a perfectly pitched mix of understatement, introspection and strength.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second only to Meat is Murder, 7 April 2008
By 
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
This is without a shadow of a doubt Morrissey's finest solo album and is in fact one of the greatest albums of his whole career. Fans often regard Morrissey's solo career as somewhat inferior to his work with the Smiths but Meat is Murder aside which is probably the greatest album ever released (subjective of course), I believe this to be Morrissey's finest work. Lyrically it's unbeatable, it's rich with feeling, its upfront, self-confessional honesty is inspiring, he reaches heights artistically and emotionally that he has proved incapable of reaching subsequently. If Morrissey was the inspired youth whilst with the Smiths by the time he releases this album he has become the inspired adult it's simply sublime.

Music, like all art, is a medium of communication and never has communication been more pure and enlightening, the humanity of this album is so rich and entrenched that it seeps into the soul of the listener and will never be forgotten. Morrissey and Marr were true geniuses when they worked together but with this album Morrissey proves that he has a genius all of his own. Simply and truly a record of immense greatness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving of more than 5*s., 23 Sept. 2004
By 
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
Being an absolute Morrissey maniac you would think that I would rate every album as a five-star-er. Well, no, that's not the truth. I own nearly all the Smiths and Morrissey albums and none of them compare to the absolute but yet savage beauty of 'Vauxhall and I'.
Morrissey's voice seems to sound clearer in this album than any other. This effect creates a direct address to the listener (thanks also to the music which works in perfect unison with Moz's voice). This, probably more than any other Moz album, forces you to stop and listen to every word. (So don't try and listen to this album as background noise, as you will not get anything else done!) The realisation comes, when you listen to THIS album especially, that Morrissey knows more about you and your life than you do! No, I honestly don't think he's stalking everyone- but it makes you wonder! It sounds like cheese-on-toast but you learn so much about life and yourself. It's that Morrissey charm, he is singing about everything you thought about once and quickly put to the back of your mind.
I'm not really doing much justice to this album! It's hard to describe how much of yourself you will see in this album and how much you never realised you saw about you and life in general. It's a beautiful and truthful album which seems to flow seamlessly between songs. It's the most moving album I own and nothing even comes near its greatness! It's such a personal experience listening to 'Vauxhall' that you need to listen to it for yourself. So do so, because this review will probably read like dribble until you personally listen to this outrageously, gorgeous album!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes a few listens - but worth the effort, 27 Mar. 2003
By 
Andrew Murray (Wimbledon Village, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
This was the first Morrissey solo album I got. I bought it on the strength of hearing one song "why don't you find out for yourself". This is a class track and it still remains my favourite on the album. I can't believe that a song as musical and with such great lyrics doesnt get more airplay.
There are other excellent tracks including "Now my heart is full" and the epic "speedway". I have been really impressed with this album, probably the first of many for me. Give it a go!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Knowing, 20 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
I probably can't add anything to what has already been said but I concur with those who think this is Morrissey's finest hour.
Unquestionably it is.
The Smiths, undeniably produced some fine songs that worked on many different levels but their albums were prone to lapses. The occassional ditty that didn't work or self-indulgent drone. There is nothing like that here. It is one of the most consistently moving albums I have ever heard.
Morrissey is at his cutting best on Spring Heeled Jim. A song that is both satirically swiping yet similarly saddening. Why don't you find out for yourself is both resigned and defensive. And only Morrisssey could come up with a song called "Lifeguard Sleeping Girl Drowning". What is more, only Morrissey could make it work. Breathtaking.
The whole lapse into decadation and despair is inevitable according to this album. Morrissey seems resigned to it (Used to be a Sweet Boy) and moreover there is nothing one can do to prevent it (The more you ignore me the closer I get.)
In short this is an incredibly consistent and emotive album. The humourous asides exist to be juxta posed against, and to reinforce, tragedy. Blinding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrissey's Solo Highpoint, 2 July 2012
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
Morrissey's 1994 album Vauxhall And I is, for me, this most innovative artist's greatest solo album, surpassing his other sterling efforts (Your Arsenal, Maladjusted, You Are The Quarry and Years Of Refusal) and leaving his weaker efforts (Kill Uncle, Southpaw Grammar and Ringleader Of The Tormentors) very much in its wake. The album represents Morrissey at his most eloquent, subtle, idiosyncratic, funny and (even) tender, containing a compelling set of melodies and hooks within the eleven songs featured, which were co-written with his long time collaborators, writing partners and band members Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer.

For me, there is not a weak song here. Beginning with the haunting melody (guitar, bass, strings) that underpins the moody Now My Heart Is Full, a true wall-of-sound classic that is right up there with Mozza's best ever songs, the album does not let up. This opening song also rekindles the man's recurring obsession with all things culturally British (or perhaps that should be English) with its references to the Brighton Rock characters (Dallow, Spicer, Pinkie, Cubitt) as well as to deceased, small-time actor Patric Doonan. Of the more up-tempo (arguably more commercial) songs, Billy Budd is an infectious romp which may or may not (probably not) be based on the Herman Melville character, The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get is based on a catchy riff and regularly features in the live set list (and contains the great line, 'I bear more grudges than lonely high court judges'), and the album closes with Speedway, something of a tour-de-force, powerfully rhythm driven (with the added sound of a motorbike revving up - or is it a chain-saw? - for good measure) as Mozza repeatedly attests to his faithfulness (presumably against the evils of the press).

Vauxhall And I is also, rightly, loved for its outstanding selection of infectious (and musically lighter) songs. Each of Hold On To Your Friends, I Am Hated For Loving and Used To Be A Sweet Boy are based on a sublime melody and these songs find Mozza at his most reflective and (even) tender, whilst Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning tells the apparent story of a girl's unnoticed death, with superbly evocative (and, at times, whispered) vocals from Mozza, all with an accordion-like, maudlin sounding instrumental backing.

Despite the consistently high quality of the aforementioned songs, my own particular (maybe idiosyncratic) favourites are, however, the remaining three songs on the album. Spring-Heeled Jim appears to be, on first hearing, something of a throwaway song - but, for me, it becomes totally infectious and the (atmospheric) impact of the lilting melody is accentuated greatly by the backing vocal voiceover of 'cockney banter' taken from Karel Reisz's 1959 documentary film We Are The Lambeth Boys. Then we have the album's lyrical highpoint (always something to shout about when it comes to a Morrissey song) in The Lazy Sunbathers - this is one of the man's greatest ever, all to the backing of another haunting melody, and reaching its apex with, 'Nothing appears to be between the ears of the lazy sunbathers' - pure magic. Finally, my album favourite - Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself, one of the great Alain Whyte's best ever melodies, with another top Morrissey lyric ('I've been stabbed in the back so many many times, I don't have any skin but that's just the way it goes'). A magical acoustic song which (for some reason) always reminds me of another acoustic masterpiece, Graham Parker's Between You And Me.

A pretty much flawless album, and second only to The Queen Is Dead in Morrissey's creative achievements.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The enduring genius of Morrissey, 23 Aug. 2002
By 
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
I can understand Smiths fans approaching Mozzer's solo work with some trepidation. Morrissey/Johnny Marr was the best songwriting partnership since Lennon/Mcartney but Morrissey on his own? How will he cope?
I believe Vauxhall and I gives the most positive answer to that question of all his solo albums. Sure, there are 2 or 3 duds but there are also at least 5 songs here of real quality. 'Now My Heart is Full' and 'Hold on to Your Friends' not only have fabulous lyrics but they sound great as well. The music from Alan Whyte and Boz Boorer - although clearly not comparable Marr - is excellent. And I find it impossible to listen to the biting wit of 'Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning' without smiling.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrisey at his best, 6 April 2005
By 
D. Evans "dantheman95" (Southport) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vauxhall And I (Audio CD)
Released in 1994, just as Britpop was beginning to dominant the British music scene, Morrisey emerged with his finest album to date, showing the likes of Jarvis,Damin and Noel, how it should be done. There are no filler tracks on this album. Perhaps its most familar song is the single, The More You Ignore Me,The Closer I get, the kind of song The Smiths could have done a decade earlier. Billy Bud, also deserves special mention. But the best track is the superb, Spring Heel Jim, a real gem of a song.
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