Stephen Patrick Morrissey turned 62 today. I used to be a huge fan of this asexual human (or his own term: humasexual). But these days, he’s nothing but a so hard to love, cranky, cruel, uncharming, middle-aged Moz. I’m no longer a religious devotee of him. However, I have to admit, he’s had a significant impact on my pop-culture adventure, that shaped me into the person I am today.
The song here, “Suedehead”, is Moz’s debut solo single, released in February 1988.
NME gave the single “Single of the Week 2” saying that “his vocals hit a pitch that turns your stomach with queasy delight. It makes you feel vulnerable and provokes emotions you’ve forgotten about.” In the 1988 NME Year in Review the song was described as “The best number 1 ’88 never gave us.”
In a retrospective review for AllMusic, critic Ned Ragget described it as “a memorable number, with Stephen Street’s subtle orchestrations carrying the sweep of the song.”
“Suedehead” was later featured in Moz’s phenomenal debut solo album, Viva Hate, released in March 1988, six months after the final album by The Smiths, Strangeways, Here We Come.
Produced by Stephen Street, the album was certified Gold by the RIAA in November 1993. I’d say Viva Hate is one of the most prominent debut solo albums ever—apparently it’s included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Rolling Stone called the album “a tight, fairly disciplined affair”, in comparison of its sound to that of The Smiths. While Pitchfork wrote in its retrospective review: “one of Morrissey’s most interesting records, and certainly his riskiest; strange mix of pomp and minimal languor makes Viva Hate the only Morrissey LP you’d consider listening to just for its music.” Viva Hate was listed by Q as one of the top 50 albums of 1988.
Happy birthday, Moz!
PS: If you see the video, façon wise, they’re so rockabilly (thanks to Boz Boorer, I guess). Musique wise, it’s power pop 🙂
• Read also VIVA HATE – LATE NIGHT, MAUDLIN STREET.
Featured image via Manchester Evening News.