Album Review :: Morrissey – Swords

Morrissey’s B-sides are great. How nice of him to have the best of his recent ones compiled for our listening pleasure.    Cheers Moz!


Love him or loathe him, Morrissey has been a musical icon for close to 30 years, and, after the success of Years Of Refusal back in February, he’s set to infiltrate the Top 40 again. Swords is a compilation of B-sides recorded over the past five years during sessions for his last three albums (You Are The Quarry, Ringleader Of The Tormentors, Years Of Refusal).It’s unlikely Moz fans haven’t heard this stuff before (although, his cover of Bowie’s Drive In Saturday was new to me), but it’s good to have the best of them on one CD.

The first thing I noticed about Swords is, despite it being a compilation, it still feels like a cohesive, well rounded album. Often, an artist will release a compilation that just doesn’t sound right. You might have heard all of the songs before, but none of them seem to go together. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. From the start of the first track, Good Looking Man About Town, to the sorrow-filled closer, Because Of My Poor Education, this CD is great. Sure, there’s a few hit and miss tracks (Sweetie-Pie springs to mind), but on the whole there’s a great bunch of tracks here. Certainly something that will appease the Morrissey faithful.

The collection might be a great one but, as always, there’s a few stand-out tracks that I feel I must mention. My personal favourite is If  You Don’t Like Me Don’t Look At Me. There’s a good combination of Smiths-esque guitar playing and the harder style seen in his more recent releases. Highlights include: It’s Hard To Walk Tall When Your Small, the somewhat controversial, Munich Air Disaster 1958 and, heartfelt ballad, The Never-Played Symphonies.

Now, whilst these initial 18 tracks are great, I can’t help but think there have been some odd omissions from this collection, the track Mexico immediately springing to mind. That said, tracks such as that one aren’t too hard to find and most Morrissey fans will already have it anyway.

Alongside Swords (for it’s initial run) is a bonus, live disc. Personally, I think that it’s this that’s going to sell this compilation to the die-hard Morrissey fanatics. This disc is comprised of eight tracks taken from the Tour Of Refusal’s stop in Warsaw and, as is the case with most live Morrissey recordings, it’s great. More recent songs such as: I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris and I’m OK By Myself are joined by, Smiths classic, You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby and Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself.

Overall, Swords is a great compilation of Morrissey B-sides worthy of a place in any fan’s collection. If you’re just getting into Morrissey’s music, then this might be a good place to start. There’s a great range of styles here and more than enough to keep you happy (well, maybe not happy. How about…contented?), especially with that great live disc too – Anthony Barlow

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