eMusic Review 0
It was not entirely certain, upon the Smiths' break-up in 1987, what would become of Morrissey without songwriting partner Johnny Marr. The two weren't a creative team so much as a codependency; one was the hand, the other was the glove. Plenty of skeptics — and just plain realists — surmised that vocalist/lyricist Morrissey would fade into obscurity without an equally talented musical foil, living up to his supposed wilting-flower, shut-in persona.
Viva Hate is a riposte to the critics in title alone, but its arrival a scant six months after Smiths swan song Strangeways, Here We Come at least suggests Morrissey was aware of the scrutiny in the British weeklies. (To the American music press, Morrissey was a footnote in the heyday of juggernauts such as Guns N' Roses and Bon Jovi — a circumstance that should not be forgotten when judging just how original a witty, sensitive pop album could be in 1988.) It's only natural that Viva Hate at times sounds like an escape from Marr's ever-jangling guitars; they've been traded in for the more bubbly six-string style of Vini Reilly, whose Durutti Column was a Factory Records-era blend of Television and Felt. Further enabled by producer and… read more »