Vauxhall and I

Vauxhall and I

Vauxhall and I is a 1994 album by Morrissey, generally considered among his best works, along with Your Arsenal. The release cemented Morrissey's success in the US, giving him a top 20 album and his first hit single with the song "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get." This was Morrissey's second solo album to reach the top of the charts in Britain, the first being Viva Hate.

Vauxhall and I represents Morrissey at his most mature and reflects the course his life has taken. With its blend of guitar rock, largely acoustic ballads, and wry classic rock, Vauxhall and I stands in stark contrast to Morrissey's other work. It is distinguished by its ironic and introspective nature as well as its sombre and emotional mood. In the album, Morrissey encourages the listener to think about their life and friendships. In "Hold on to Your Friends", we are reminded of the power of friendship. By contrast, in "Why Don't You Find Out for Yourself", we are urged to beware of other people using us for their own benefit.

Morrissey had also recently suffered the loss of three people close to him: Mick Ronson, Tim Broad, and Nigel Thomas, which may have had the cumulative effect of giving Vauxhall and I somewhat of a funereal feel. Indeed, just two years later Morrissey acknowledged that he felt at the time that this was going to be his last album, and that not only was it the best album he'd ever made but that he would never be able to top it in the future. This has largely held true as both Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted were received with critical and commercial ambivalence (and not-infrequent disdain), although the latter-day You Are the Quarry from 2004 sold well and was critically well-received.

The lead single off the album, "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get", became the only song by Morrissey or The Smiths to achieve chart success in the United States, where it reached #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also became a #1 Modern Rock Tracks chart hit. In the United Kingdom, the song hit #8 and was the only single by Morrissey to reach the top ten during the 1990s.

In February 2006, Q Magazine voted it at #91 in the best albums ever.

In January 2006 in the NME, Vauxhall and I was voted at #57 in the Top 100 British Albums.

The album's title appears to be a reference to the 1987 film, Withnail and I. Vauxhall is an area of London, and there is also a British car manufacturer of the same name.

Cultural references and influence

The song Used to Be a Sweet Boy bears a resemblance to Neil Young's version of Oh, Lonesome Me, from the 1970 album After The Gold Rush, originally written by Don Gibson.

The line "don't leave us in the dark" at the end of Billy Budd comes from the 1948 David Lean film adaptation of Dickens' Oliver Twist. This was said by one of Fagin's pickpockets to Fagin when the mob was closing in on their hiding place.

The song "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" is parodied on the television show "Bill Nye the Science Guy."

Track listing

  1. "Now My Heart Is Full" – 4:57
  2. "Spring-Heeled Jim" – 3:47
  3. "Billy Budd" – 2:08
  4. "Hold on to Your Friends" – 4:02
  5. "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" – 3:44
  6. "Why Don't You Find Out for Yourself" – 3:20
  7. "I Am Hated for Loving" – 3:41
  8. "Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning" – 3:42
  9. "Used to Be a Sweet Boy" – 2:49
  10. "The Lazy Sunbathers" – 3:08
  11. "Speedway" – 4:30

Personnel

  • Morrissey - Vocals, Main Performer
  • Alain Whyte - Guitar
  • Boz Boorer - Guitar
  • Jonny Bridgewood - Bass
  • Woodie Taylor - Drums
  • Greg Ross - Art Direction
  • Dean Freeman - Photography
  • Chris Dickie - Producer, Engineer
  • Steve Lillywhite - Producer
  • Danton Supple - Assistant Engineer

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