Upon listening to the lackluster Morrissey Greatest Hits that needlessly plods over ground that has been either trod enough times ("Suedehead") or looked a little too shaky for walking on the first time ("Irish Blood, English Heart") I was sent back to explore his greatest hit*, 1992's Your Arsenal.
I just now, sixteen years later, got the joke in the album's title, but this was a record whose real rewards were immediately apparent. Maybe its because it was on the tour for this album that I witnessed New Gay Elvis Plus in the flesh, but this record is the one that packs the most wallop.
Especially, "We'll Let You Know" when he boasts/laments we are the last truly English people in the world, he meant all the lost souls in the New Orleans State Palace Theatre, some recovered from tragic teen years, some not (on shirtless skinny wastrel on the other side of the Gen Adm barrier had "Frankly" written across his anemic chest in marker, with "Mr. Shankly" on the back. I fetched him a gladiola that Big M had thrashed on the stage and tossed into the crowd) all swooning the dark to his rough trade poster boy rockabilly outfit that backed him.
I've seen roughly a pazillion concerts since then and this one still sticks in my mind, when the security manhandled a gold lamé clad minion that had made it to the stage, and Morrissey cutting the show rather short, I think without an encore. It was glorious, perfect, trenchant, pissy, bratty, laughable-ha-ha-ha-ho-ho just like the record. Any line on it is brilliantly quoteable: If we can destroy them, you bet your life we will destroy them. That is a slogan you can march to.
*out of his solo records. The Queen is Dead is a whole different animal.