Does What It Says On The Tin

Greatest Hits albums are always a strange commodity designed as a stopgap between albums, an excuse for a tour, or just to provide a simple collection to introduce new fans to the artist. Morrissey's Greatest Hits is a singles album, which is no bad thing when the singles span the decades and are of such high quality, although it's always a little disappointing to see such a lack of creativity, after all, this is a new release that fans will be wanting to add to their collection. So is it worth it?

The two new tracks, 'That's How People Grow Up' and 'All You Need Is Me' are boisterous rock tunes with Morrissey's typical self-pitying bravado shining through at every opportunity. The latter is a triumphant 3 minute rumble full of sparky guitars and tight percussion that bursts off the record, but with Morrissey, this is simply to be expected.

Thankfully there's been a hint of creative direction in the ordering of tracks and rather than a dull chronological journey, we're taken from the aching of 'I Have Forgiven Jesus' to the smooth bliss of, 'First Of The Gang To Die' both taken from 2004's, 'You Are The Quarry'. It's a bright and upbeat start progressing into releases from Morrissey's last album like the brass-infused, 'I Just Want To See The Boy Happy'. The phrase hit after hit definitely applies as we move from one power charged number to another with hardly time to catch our breath. These are punchy, power-packed tunes that fare best knocking you out from the midst of a few more reflective tracks on an album than bunched together here.

Half way through the album classic Morrissey finally arrives in the form of, 'Everyday Is Like Sunday', it's something of a relief to hear the more flowery strains of the singer's earlier music, which could certainly have found a suitable position earlier on the record. 'Redondo Beach' is an even greater departure from the forceful guitar-driven recent releases with its twee tinny keyboard and playful tune. The latter half of the album sees, 'Suedehead's spirited exuberance spill with ease into the crashing, 'The Youngest Was The Most Loved' and back to the resplendent classic, 'The Last Of The Famous International Playboys'.

The 'Greatest Hits' is a strange affair, comprising mostly of recent material and the odd first half packing in recent singles in one swift swoop feels slightly incongruous once you relax into the mix of older material added closer to the end.