Sound — 7
Vauxhall is "The Queen Is Dead" of Morrissey's solo career; a beautiful lament from the slightly bitter, but still tragically romantic, gladioli-wiedling king of meloncholy, the mancunian Elvis of gloom. The music is really quite brilliant, understated indie that exorcises any ghostly memories of Marr being irreplacable. The main riff in "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get" is perfect catchy rock, while the haunting, ethereal backing to "Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning" creates such delicate atmosphere for Morrissey's sarcastic "hoorays" to rip right through.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics seem really quite final in the album, almost a goodbye. Songs such as "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" and the epic album-closer "Speedway" show the quaintly bequiffed miser of misery attacking the music industry and press which had so recently condemned him as racist. However, it doesn't come across as the indulgently self-pitying whine of a celebrity, more just frustration and tiredness. The rest of the album is often hilarious, Morrissey's humour is often dry and understated, such as on "The Lazy Sunbathers" or knowing exaggeration, such as when on "Billy Budd" he proclaims romantically "I'd happily lose both of my legs if it meant you could be free" so merrily and yet you know he means it too.
Overall Impression — 8
Compared to Morrissey's most recent offerings (such as "You Are The Quarry") Vauxhall is certainly superior; every track fits perfectly and unlike most of his work, even with The Smiths, there is no below-par filler (though, of course, even a shit track from the patron saint of stumbling shyness will always be devoured with lustful ears by his obsessive fans). It really is the quintessential solo album that really should be bought if you're a fan of The Smiths, or very lonely. This man will change your life, or at the very least consume it.