Following the breakup of the Smiths, Morrissey needed to prove that he was a viable artist without Johnny Marr, and Viva Hate fulfilled that goal with grace. Working with producer Stephen Street and guitarist Vini Reilly (of the Durutti Column), Morrissey doesn't drastically depart from the sound of Strangeways, Here We Come, offering a selection of 12 jangling guitar pop sounds. One major concession is the presence of synthesizers -- which is ironic, considering the Smiths' adamant opposition to keyboards -- but neither the sound, nor Morrissey's wit, is diluted. And while the music is occasionally pedestrian, Morrissey compensates with a superb batch of lyrics, ranging from his conventional despair ("Little Man, What Now?," "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me") to the savage political tirade of "Margaret on a Guillotine." Nevertheless, the two masterstrokes on the album -- the gorgeous "Everyday Is Like Sunday" and the infectious "Suedehead" -- were previously singles, and both are on the compilation Bona Drag.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine