Bona Drag


1990 Sire/Reprise 9 26221-2

  1. Piccadilly Palare
  2. Interesting Drug
  3. November Spawned a Monster
  4. Will Never Marry
  5. Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference
  6. The Last of the Famous International Playboys
  7. Ouija Board, Ouija Board
  8. Hairdresser on Fire
  9. Everyday Is Like Sunday
  10. He Knows I’d Love to See Him
  11. Yes, I Am Blind
  12. Lucky Lisp
  13. Suedehead
  14. Disappointed

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 I’ve heard, because it seems to have the least cluttered presentation of Morrissey’s 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 I’d 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 I’d 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, there’s only one track that makes the album a necessity, and that’s “Tomorrow.” And that is one stellar track. I saw a bit of its video some years ago and thought “yeah, that’s just right for it,” and since I first heard it I’ve 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 you’ll never do / Would you put your arms around me / I won’t tell anybody,” that I can’t 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 Morrissey’s voice and words have captured it independently.