99: I'm OK By Myself Writers: Morrissey (lyrics), Jesse Tobias (music).
Year of composition: 2009.
Appearances on official releases: 'Years of Refusal'.
2009's 'Years of Refusal' is a fantastic album; it's not quite as consistent as its direct predecessor 'Ringleader of the Tormenters', but I'd probably say that it has more great songs, and is the home of some of Morrissey's very best solo stuff. 'I'm OK By Myself' is the first of four tracks from this album to make my top 100, and there were a further 3 floating around the cut-off point. It works brilliantly as the final track, with the premise being that, after years of feeling guilty because of his longstanding paranoia and self-inflicted loneliness, Morrissey has finally come to accept that he is, as the title suggest, OK by himself. Perhaps not the most elaborate song of his lyrically speaking, the singer talks about how every show of affection and passion has the possibility of turning sour, and that – by now – he's decided that he's just about done with the hangers on. It might not exactly be an upbeat message, but it's one that many Morrissey fans will be able to relate to, and is doubtlessly a return to a lot of the thematic content of his Smiths days (particularly a lot of the songs on the self-titled debut, like 'Miserable Lie' and 'Reel Around the Fountain'). Musically speaking it's absolutely phenomenal, roaring out of the blocks like many other of the album's tunes (it's probably the most aggressive album he's done since 'Your Arsenal') with Jesse Tobias' thumping guitar riff elevating until it finally spirals out of control in the excellent conclusion, where Morrissey roars and yodels his way through the music with constant shouts of 'No!'. The rhythm section keeps things in check, but this is Tobias' finest hour, probably his most complex and ambitious Morrissey composition and, to boot, one of the most erratically passionate songs the singer has done in ages. Also, it's easily the most special of the 'Years of Refusal' songs on stage.
Listen to the studio version here
Listen to a live version (with a truly fantastic bass solo added on, and Moz taking his shirt off) here