What’s to hate about Morrissey, really? He’s puckish and mischievous, but he’s pretty harmless. When he pops out from his LA home now, it’s usually just to say something oh so controversial, with a wink and a glint in his eye, knowing that the foam-at-the-mouthers will take the bait every time.
20 years ago, he was a younger - and no less arrogant - songwriter, still just about at or near a creative peak that hadn’t collapsed (much to the disgust of assorted critics) after the Morrissey/Marr alliance was dissolved and The Smiths came to a sudden end. After the disappointing Kill Uncle, and the rollicking Your Arsenal, on Vauxhall and I, he stayed in familiar lyrical territory (childhood, love travails, love fails, and seedy underworlds), but toned down the rockabilly of Your Arsenal, opting for a more acoustic sound: at times hazy, and even verging on the serene.