When I originally did this series a few years back, I mentioned at this juncture that within the comments section a reader had taken a pop at me with a few words to the effect that for someone who is a Morrissey fan I seemed to spend a fair bit of time being critical of his output.
But the simple idea of this series looking at all the singles in his long and distinguished solo career was and is to bring them all together in one place, complete with the numerous b-sides and by doing so, it only throws up the fact that a fair number of the singles were rather poor efforts, often saved by the inclusion of one or more great b-sides and or cover versions.
Today’s offering is the lead-off single from the much-criticised 1997 LP Malajusted, and what might surprise some of you is my admission that it’s a song I quite like.
Alma Matters was the first song released by Morrissey, in July 1997, for his new record label, Island. I really thought it was a welcome return to something resembling form after the disappointing lack of half-decent tunes on Southpaw Grammar a couple of years earlier.
mp3 : Morrissey – Alma Matters
It was a view that was seemingly shared by a fair number of fans, as we bought enough copies of the single to allow it to reach #16 in the UK Charts, after the previous six singles had all stalled outside the Top 20, and I don’t think I was alone in looking forward to the album which hit the shops about a week later. Sadly, the album was a bit of a let-down……but I don’t think it is anything as bad as some of the critics made it out to be, and in Trouble Loves Me you have one of the best things he’s ever recorded. Having said that, it also contained the truly appalling Roy’s Keen. And to be fair, the title track from said LP has usually sounded pretty decent when played live.
But back to Alma Matters…..There’s two extra songs on the CD single, one of which I’m fond of, but the other is damn near unlistenable:-
mp3 : Morrissey – Heir Apparent
mp3 : Morrissey – I Can Have Both
For the avoidance of any doubt, it’s the tuneless and dirge-like Heir Apparent I do my best to avoid.
The nipple-tweaking photo was taken by Derek Ion and in small print on the back of the sleeve, Morrissey thanks Willie Garcia. I have no idea why these thanks were offered…….
More trivia facts.
Morrissey has long been known in the UK (or until this year at least) for going on the road and promoting his new material. However, there were only two UK gigs in December 1997, one at the Battersea Power Station in London and the other at the Northgate Arena in Chester….it would be 1999 before most of us got to hear live songs from the LP. But I’ll save that for another time.