REVIEW

MORRISSEY
Viva Hate Outtakes [no label 1CD Torrent: 52724]
These outtakes were long rumoured to exist but until early July 2005, were in the hands of a few collectors. But when a site leaked them for sale at US$25, some collectors decided to let them free as MP3s. But this is a lossless version ripped from a CD-R provided by a collector. Ex SBD stereo. Very little hiss. Viva Hate is Morrissey's first solo album released in 1988.

Of course this is one of those much-whispered legends that occasionally surfaces on the Morrissey market, there to be subject to all the earnest over-analysis that the man’s very existence seems to insist upon. Nor should the fact that Viva Hate! remains the weakest of all his solo albums so far puncture that scenario - there are times when it seems hard enough to persuade Morrissey to release a real LP, let alone hope that his out-takes will come sneaking out. By that criteria, the very existence of this collection is a miracle. The strength of its contents is simply a bonus.

Things open with two reasonably different versions of "Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness," a number written for (and recorded by) Sandy Shaw, but never released by Morrissey himself; interestingly, the opening drum pattern sounds suspiciously like "You Can’t Hurry Love," although it’s just a passing phase before the number swings into a fairly typical (but nevertheless contagious) late 80s Moz lament.

No less than three stabs at "Dial-a-Cliché" allow us to trace the evolution of the final album version, without really adding much to the performance itself, but the version of "Hairdresser On Fire" is an eye-opening revelation for anybody who has ever doubted Morrissey’s ability to parody himself, while singing a song whose lyrics he clearly hasn’t bothered to learn yet. A dramatic, and curiously curtailed revision of "I Know Very Well How I Got My Name" is effective, while there’s also an enjoyable clip of studio chatter, as Morrissey tries to decide whether the "come Armageddon" lyric in "Everyday Is Like Sunday" actually works in the performance. Unfortunately, the song itself doesn’t appear here… a fate that befalls the remainder of the sessions. Still, four songs, seven tracks and one more-or-less unheard number is more than the most optimistic observer could have hoped for, and the only regret is - why can’t we get similar access to one of his better albums? - Dave Thompson

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