My personal take on Vauxhall And I

For all things concerning Moz's solo career.

Postby tca2005 » Sun May 14, 2006 3:43 pm

For a long time I've been promising myself I will find the time to sit down and write about this album, because to me it is far and away the best Morrissey solo album. What I think makes it so special is that in all his other albums, the charm comes from the eccentric lyrics, the slightly off-key tunes, the over-the-top-ness of it all, and although he has many great and moving songs, sometimes it can feel like a bit of a circus, if you see what I mean. I don't want to generalise, or to put down albums which I love ("Kill Uncle, "Your Arsenal", "Viva Hate", "You Are The Quarry" and "Ringleader of the Tormentors" all take precedence over 90% of my CD collection), but all the other Moz albums can at times seem like self-parody. Vauxhall and I, however, is different (IMO), and I will try and put into words why it is.

The defining feature of all the other Moz albums is the way he pours his heart out, trying to cram everything into every song, and it can make for some epic songs and great lines, but also leave the listener (well, me) taking it with a bit of a pinch of salt, or feeling slightly confused.

In Vauxhall and I, Morrissey leaves a lot unsaid, and it is this that makes the album truly haunting. For me, the defining line of the album is:

"why don't you find out for yourself/then you'll see the glass/hidden in the grass"

The album, musically, seems very mellow and understated, and musically it is very clean and simple. But nearly every song has an edge to it, there is glass hidden in the grass, and I think it is Moz's darkest album. Songs like "Lifegaurd Sleeping, Girl Drowning" are so evocative and can really paint a picture of mental illness (for me) and are menacing, as is "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" (and people say "every Step you take is a great porttrait of a stalker - pah!). I find these songs leave me feeling very uneasy and actually put pictures in my mind, for example of a lone girl drowning int he vast sea on a sunny day, or of Moz with his "head ont he bar".

Also, I love the comments on an empty, unfulfilled society you get in songs like Spring-Heeled Jim and The Lazy Sunbathers, the fact there is so much he doesn't say leaves you thinking for yourself - not really a feature of other Moz solo albums.

Finally, Speedway - well what can I say? The way he portrays cruelty in this song is the perfect end to a very dark album, and this song, more than any other, has inspired to start writing something myself. Other Moz albums leave you feeling exhausted by the intense, epic experience, this one leaves you with more questions than answers and wanting more.
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Postby elko » Sun May 14, 2006 10:19 pm

It's probably my favourite album too, though that isn't saying much.

I agree that it's incredibly evoking, especially on "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself", the way he leaves most of it unsaid. I'm sure he's said before that he didn't much like lyrics that tried to be metaphorical rather than being honest, but when he does it, it works brilliantly. You put this aspect of the album across really well, and when I read it I realised that I totally agreed with you - it's wonderfully subtle, not something you can say about a lot of his records.

I don't think it's without it's faults though, it does definitely tail off towards the end - I don't think any of the last four tracks match the first seven. "Speedway" would be brilliant, but like you say, the production on this album is soft and mellow, and it takes all the power out of the song. It doesn't really have a killer single either, not that this is a problem in itself, but when you compare it to other Moz albums it can seem to lack a bit of impact. So on a certain day I'll really adore it, but sometimes it can pass me by a little bit.
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Postby tca2005 » Sun May 14, 2006 10:26 pm

thanks for the reply elko. I agree it doesn't have a single, but with this album I don't think that's really a weakness. More than any other album I can think of, this album is a lot more than the individual songs put together...I just can't imagine skipping a song any more than I can imagine lsitening to one on it's own. In this way, it really stands alone, and all together, as a work of art.
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Postby sonandheir » Mon May 15, 2006 6:35 pm

<a href="http://cd.ciao.co.uk/Vauxhall_And_I_Morrissey__Review_5577950" target="_blank">My Review</a>

I'll probably review another album after the .... erm ... revision. <_<

Oh, and thanks for the "exceptional" Helen! :)
Last edited by sonandheir on Mon May 15, 2006 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tca2005 » Tue May 16, 2006 11:48 am

sonandheir wrote:<a href="http://cd.ciao.co.uk/Vauxhall_And_I_Morrissey__Review_5577950" target="_blank">My Review</a>

I'll probably review another album after the .... erm ... revision. <_<

Oh, and thanks for the "exceptional" Helen! :)



I liked your review and I feel you did the album justice, it's good to see a fan give passionate account of an album that really means something to them. In a few places perhaps you got carried away though, for instance the album isn't "universally accepted" as Morrissey's best, as a even a glance through this forum will tell you.

What I really liked was the amount of info about the background voices on the tracks - how did you find all this out? I was planning to ask on here if anyone anyone knew anything, so cheers for some very interesting facts.

PS I had always interpreted the lazy sunbathers as being about the first Gulf War (mainly because of the time of the album) so thanks for clearing that up. How did you find out about the Berlin connection?
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Postby madmancmonkey » Tue May 16, 2006 1:53 pm

Its a good album, better than ROTT by a long shot. Top tunes are lazy sunbathers, The more you ignore me, Now my heart is full, amongst others. Like all Moz albums it has its total duds. I would place Speedway as a dud. Think its that chainsaw sound in the background!
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Postby tca2005 » Tue May 16, 2006 8:45 pm

hmmm, don't agree there, I have to say I like every single song pretty much equally.

sonandheir, also, thanks for the info that it Vauxhall And I was set to be Moz's last album. You're a well of knowledge you are. ;) In that case, it certainly lends extra significance to the last lines of Speedway, which would have been the last word Moz ever sung. I interpret these lines as a goodbye message to his fans:

I could have mentioned your name
I could have dragged you in
Guilt by implication
By association
I've always been true to you
In my own strange way
I've always been true to you
In my own sick way
I'll always stay true to you


Imagine ending it like that - I'm glad he didn't, but it would have been so fitting.
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Postby sonandheir » Tue May 16, 2006 9:16 pm

<!--quoteo--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE</div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec--> I liked your review and I feel you did the album justice, it's good to see a fan give passionate account of an album that really means something to them. In a few places perhaps you got carried away though, for instance the album isn't "universally accepted" as Morrissey's best, as a even a glance through this forum will tell you.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Well, I did say “almost” :P

Thanks, I’m glad you liked the review. I am, however, afraid that I cannot take all the credit for the info. If I am going to write a review of an album that I feel passionate about, I’ll take the time to research each song in detail (using Morrissey interviews, chart histories and just bits and pieces I pick up along the way). One of the main sources I use is the LASID lyric website (from which I learnt about the likely meaning behind “The Lazy Sunbathers”.)

After I've finished my exams, I'll try and write a review for “Your Arsenal”. ;)
Last edited by sonandheir on Tue May 16, 2006 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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