1990 Sire/Reprise 9 26221-2
It was Your Arsenal that got me to listen to Morrissey in the first place, Viva Hate that grabbed me, and Bona Drag that cemented my qualified appreciation for his work. Viva Hate is the best of the bunch, so far as Ive heard, because it seems to have the least cluttered presentation of Morrisseys melodic lyric brilliance, whereas the others are polluted with studio layers that only thwart the clarity I hear in such tracks as Yes, I Am Blind and He Knows Id Love to See Him on this album and Break Up the Family and the fantastic tearjerker Late Night, Maudlin Street on Viva Hate. He Knows Id Love to See Him is the best personal journey, for me, while Yes, I Am Blind is so much more righteously hurt . Nevertheless The Last of the Famous International Playboys and Disappointed have strong fun appeal to me, and of course Ouija Board, Ouija Board and a few of the others are amusing as well.
I wish I had Your Arsenal in my list of reviewed CDs, but sadly I relinquished the CD and vinyl some years ago and have been unable to convince myself to re-acquire either. The thing is, theres only one track that makes the album a necessity, and thats Tomorrow. And that is one stellar track. I saw a bit of its video some years ago and thought yeah, thats just right for it, and since I first heard it Ive been tormented by the emotions the song evokes (which for me seem to entail the eternal frustration of falling for straight guys, however briefly). So many images and memories come into my mind for the almost-ashamed lyrics all I ask of you is one thing that youll never do / Would you put your arms around me / I wont tell anybody, that I cant even begin to tackle that subject here. Suffice to say that entire would-be relationships have arisen and crashed on those rocks in my life without ever actually taking shape, and Morrisseys voice and words have captured it independently.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.