Release Date: Nov 3, 2009
Record label: Fontana Int'l
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Alternative
Collections of B-sides often allow musicians to expand a little on their palette. However, as anyone familiar with Morrissey’s backing band would concede – that’s not always a good thing. From his first solo outing 20 years ago, Viva Hate, on which Stephen Street’s production castrated the intricate possibilities of Vini Reilly’s guitar, Morrissey’s backing post-Marr et al has fallen not far short of muzak.
Morrissey’s quizzical look on the front cover of Swords seems both appropriate and contradictory to the music contained therein. Dressed like a blue-collar laborer on a break, he wears clothes that reflect his workman-like musical output over the better part of the last decade. But the unsure expression on his face seemingly questions the strength of that output, as if he still isn’t positive if releasing an album of b-sides is a good idea.
Call me morbid, call me pale, but when the news of his onstage collapse twittered and flickered across the screens of the world the other night, I couldn't help but relish the way the flame of the Morrissey Myth seemed to flare briefly back into gaudy life. You see, as Swords, mopping up of the stray B-sides and bonus tracks from the comeback years, suggests, Morrissey now has a dilemma: Following group glory, solo vindication, political notoriety, sullen exile, and dramatic revival, what on earth does he do for an encore? It's not as though he can comfortably retire to civilian life. David Thomson once wrote of how fame had condemned an elderly woman to live out her days "sequestered in the cathedral called Greta Garbo.