Morrissey, it must be said, has never been the most conventional of recording artists. He can record the most wonderful albums then release the least radio friendly track from it as a single, complaining afterwards at its inevitable low chart placing. And then he can turn around, write one of the most beautiful songs in his entire back catalogue, and stubbornly refuse to include it on a proper studio album. My Love Life is just such a song, sublimely good and yet only released as a standalone single.
Of course, Morrissey and The Smiths were always fond of singles, and there's nothing wrong with that - if anything, too few singles are released without an LP around the corner - but the timing of this one is significant, as it was released a few months after his second solo album, Kill Uncle. Kill Uncle was a good album but difficult to get into, veering away from his traditional pop sensibilities and taking a slightly experimental tone. My Love Life by comparison is back to the old-fashioned jangly pop guitars; you'd never have guessed the music was composed by the same man who wrote the music for Kill Uncle, Mark E. Nevin. The music itself, however, is recorded by a group of musicians who would form Morrissey's band right up until the present day: Boz Boorer, Alain Whyte, Gary Day and 'Spencer'.
My Love Life is a lyrically-simple track, utilising Morrissey's hallmark love of repetition to gently pester the object of his desires. For one renowned for his own reclusiveness when it comes to relationships, here Moz instead pries into another person's reluctance, asking why they cannot let another person into their life. He turns it around in the chorus, imploring them to 'give a little something' back to him. While not as deep as many of his more famous songs, it works well here backed by a gentle guitar melody and accompanying vocals (provided by Chrissie Hynde.
The song was promoted by the usual recorded video, featuring Morrissey and the band driving around in an open-topped car to the backing of the song itself. The record sleeve features the usual duotone photograph of Moz, lying on the ground gazing up somewhat coyly at the camera, the picture having been taken by Kevin Cummins. (The UK version features a rather nice HMV logo in the bottom right corner.) The back cover is much more exotic - Morrissey's boxer shorts are just visible, photographed by Linder (of Ludus fame).
The song was released on a smattering of formats, with different B-sides to each. Despite being released in the USA first, the song failed to chart there, whilst only making 29 in the UK; soon Morrissey would begin to withdraw from Britain, as his star soon began to rise in the States.
The European CD and 12" featured :
The USA 12" features:
- The 7" single was released in Europe and Australia alone, along with the UK cassette, and featured:
Finally, Japan received a unique 6-track CD combining several recent singles:
- My Love Life
- I've Changed My Plea To Guilty
- Skin Storm
Compiled using my own copies of the singles, Passions Just Like Mine, and the Lyrics And Songs Database.