Moz reissue isn’t such a Drag
Some might say: “Oh, not another Morrissey reissue.” And they would have a point. This past decade has seen a ridiculous quantity of Moz re-releases, not all of them good quality, ensuring that one of the most loyal fanbases in popular music forks out time and again for material they all already own, in the full and safe knowledge that they will continue to do so ad infinitum.
Well, everyone has their limit. I, for one, refused to buy his latest b-side compilation Swords on the basis that it simply wasn’t worth the money or the excitement; and I certainly didn’t buy the HMV/Parlophone Singles ’88 – ’95 CD on the basis that the two facsimile boxsets it was culled from were expensive enough purchases and more than artistically adequate. I was also miffed beyond words by the Greatest Hits compilation in 2008 that not only, by its nature, repeated a whole load of previously reissued stuff, its two new tracks were then reissued themselves on the next Moz studio album. And let’s not forget the dreadful hash that’s been made of The Smiths’ back catalogue, most recently the appalling Sound Of The Smiths compilations, which only reinforced Warner Bros’ peculiar contempt for one of their most esteemed back catalogues – not to mention the fans, whom they know full well will fork out for everything that comes out.
However, the 20th anniversary reissue of Bona Drag is something I’m rather excited about. After the two fine reissues/alternative versions of Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted, it had quite a lot to live up to. Well, it’s certainly delivered, to these ears. Morrissey’s first couple of years as a solo artist were very much an exploratory period. Still haunted by his apparent abandonment by Johnny Marr, his steps appeared nothing if not tentative; but following the release of the well-received Viva Hate in 1988, it suddenly became entirely unclear if there would even be a follow-up. The news pages of the music press seemed full of tales of The Smiths reforming, Morrissey’s protracted falling out with new songwriting partner Stephen Street, his supposed disowning of most of Viva Hate and a second album seemed further away with every passing week. Continue reading