“Southpaw Grammar” is Morrissey’s best album? Huh, what? I agree that it’s underrated, but…no.
I would put “Kill Uncle” last. Two, maybe three good songs (Our Frank, Sing Your Life, King Leer), and a whole bunch of filler. The ultimate sophomore slump.
I would also put “You Are the Quarry” WAY higher, probably at number three. It’s not perfect, but it’s a stunning comeback album. Any album that has Come Back to Camden, I Have Forgiven Jesus and You Know I Couldn’t Last on it deserves more praise.
I was a decent-sized U2 fan from “Unforgettable Fire” through “Achtung Baby” (and yes, I too found most of “Rattle and Hum” obnoxious), but after that I got tired of the fact that they were everywhere, all the time. This list may give me reason to reexamine their catalog. I also think that “Pop” is a pretty amazing album. I remember listening to it a lot when it first came out – part of the attraction, for me, was that it was a solid attempt to try something new and not take themselves too seriously. Their pretentiousness always rubbed me the wrong way, and “Pop” was a fun diversion.
The performance is incredible, and the song itself is really, really good.
Nice. I would have liked to have seen “Mule Variations” and “Alice” in the top five, but overall, I like this. Good to see “Nighthawks at the Diner” get some love.
And while it may be true that Waits has yet to make, in your words, an “irrefutably perfect album,” Rain Dogs comes pretty close. That album is responsible for an enormous shift in my musical tastes when I first heard it back in 1986.
Paul Weller covered “Birds” quite nicely – it’s on his covers album, “Studio 150.”
“Ambulance Blues,” in my opinion, is what “Desolation Row” would have sounded like if Dylan saved it for the “Desire” album.
Great list, and superbly written. I don’t agree 100 percent with the rankings, but that’s part of the fun of these lists – watching the arguing unfold.
I love the fact that ReAcTor is pretty high on the list – I’ve been an unabashed defender of that album for years. And putting On The Beach at number one is a pretty ballsy move – it’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely in my top five. Nice job.
Nice job with the countdown, but the main article is rife with chronological inaccuracies…
” the initial 1983 split from Nick Lowe as producer” – In fact, Elvis made Lowe-less albums in 1981 (Almost Blue) and 1982 (Imperial Bedroom).
“…deep personal divisions between Costello and Bruce Thomas eventually led to the bass player’s estrangement and a fitful, final parting in 1994.” – Bruce plays bass on “All This Useless Beauty,” the final album under the name Elvis Costello and the Attractions, which was released in 1996.
“…his fine 1990 release Spike…” It was released in 1989. Your countdown segment actually got that one right, though.
By the way, the article’s description of Get Happy is the most amazingly accurate write-up of what I feel is probably my favorite album of all time. Nice job.
Being a die-hard Elvis fan, I was ready to hate this list before I even read it. But I’m in surprising agreement with a lot of it. However…
I feel that Imperial Bedroom should be in the top five. But I love the fact that Get Happy and Trust (my two favorites) are near the top.
Painted From Memory should be lower than North. It’s impossible to avoid comparisons between the two, and I just think North is a much stronger album. I realize Elvis is a Bacharach freak, but Burt’s unintentional cheesiness does not mesh well with Costello’s songwriting, resulting in a lot of awkward moments (although “The Sweetest Punch” is one of Elvis’ best songs of the 90s).
“Little Atoms” is an undeniably beautiful song, but it’s marred by what I feel is the weakest lyric Elvis ever wrote: “And if you still don’t like my song then you can just go to hell / I don’t care if I’m right or wrong or if my typewriter can spell.” Ew. I cringe every time I hear that.
Mighty Like a Rose gets way too much flak, in my opinion. I feel that it gets better with repeated listening. Sure, it has an overbearing “everything-including-the-kitchen-sink” production style, but putting anything below the awful Goodbye Cruel World seems wrong. I’ll take 25 keyboard players over Steve Nieve’s horrible Yamaha DX-7 any day.
It’s because I live for downvotes.
I’ve never heard of this band until now, but it sounds like another tired story of a “troubled” artist (Pete Doherty, anyone?) who’s known more for being a train wreck than making actual music. Yawn.
Nice. I particularly enjoy Byrne’s cover of “I Don’t Remember.” Way too many songs from “So,” but I guess I’m just nitpicking.
I really feel that “So” was when Gabriel turned in to a pop star and I lost interest. Having said that, I’m disappointed that it’s at the top of your list, although I won’t deny that it’s a well-crafted album. Nice to see “Melt” at number two (my personal favorite).
I originally balked at the low placement of “Car” until you made a point that I never realized until now: the second of half of that album is a snooze.
I like “Scratch My Back,” although I realize I’m in the minority. Kind of a drag that the proposed followup never really materialized – Gabriel’s solo output is ripe for a tribute album.
No offense to Stephen Street – he’s a great producer – but imagine how much better the album would have been if Andy Partridge had stuck around.
“Morrissey Pitching a Fit: Worst to Best.”
I hate the fact that “Naked” gets so little respect. The first half of that album, in my opinion, is dynamite. Side two is kind of bland, although I love “Facts of Life.” Stylistically, it’s probably more interesting that anything they had done since “Remain in Light” and is an interesting peek at Byrne’s rising solo career. “True Stories” should be at the bottom. “Love for Sale” and “Puzzlin’ Evidence” are terrific, but that’s where it ends for me. Just sayin.’
Oh, Morrissey. We get it. Thatcher was evil. Billy Bragg says the same thing, but with 100 times more focus, clarity and intelligence. Can you please go back to hating people who eat meat?
Was he driving DALI’S CAR?
For the record, I just turned 44.
I realize that this is all just a matter of opinion, and everyone’s favorite top ten is different, but…out of ten songs, TWO of them from “Join Us” seems odd.
I’m not a fan of the “best songs” list. The “Worst to Best Albums” is much more fun and seems to generate more productive bickering. Plus, a lot of the bands you profile are more album-oriented.
Nobody has the right to sound this awesome at age 66. I’m completely digging this.
When is Bob Mould *not* awesome? God, I love that guy.
Morrissey, upset at Kimmel “ridiculing depression?” Heard any Morrissey song titles lately?
Thanks, Stereogum! For a minute there, I forgot he was a singer and not just a whiny complainer.