Morrissey is often noted as one of the key pop lyricists of his generation, with many subsequent bands hailing his influence. Fans are attracted to the sardonic humour which underpins his songs' frequent references to alienation and failed love. A celebration of the outsider is a constant theme in his work. Morrissey has been stereotyped as appealing to shy teenagers, and his work has been said to glorify working-class criminality.
Morrissey's first solo album came in 1988 in the form of Viva Hate. The prevailing sound of the album is a jangle-pop similar to that of the Smiths, though Vini Reilly's guitar works adds more abrasive and atmpospheric elements to the work. Viva Hate struck number one upon release, supported by such strong singles as "Suedehead" and "Everyday Is Like Sunday".
The band Morrissey assembled for 1992's hit album Your Arsenal sharply renewed his sound and sales success with a fresh, American rockabilly sound. Your Arsenal was produced by former David Bowie guitarist, Mick Ronson, and it earned a Grammy nomination for best alternative album. The year 1994 brought Morrissey back to number one in the UK, with Vauxhall and I. One of the album's highlights, "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get", enjoyed chart success as a single, reaching number eight in the UK and number 46 in the US.
Morrissey's album You Are the Quarry was released in May 2004. Guitarist Alain Whyte described the work as a mix between Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I, and the album received strong reviews. The first single, "Irish Blood, English Heart", reached number three in its first week of sales in the UK singles chart. This was the highest placing chart position for Morrissey in his entire career as both a solo artist and the lead singer of The Smiths. Also, the album became his most successful one, solo or with The Smiths selling over a million copies.
Morrissey's latest album, Low in High School, was released in 2017. His next album, a covers album titled California Son, will be released in March 2019.