"Alma Matters"
(Morrissey/Alain Whyte)

 

The song was very likely written during 1996, or at the latest during the recording session for the "Maladjusted" album at Hook End Manor in January 1997, with producer Steve Lillywhite. Musicians on this recording were Martin aka Boz Boorer (guitars, clarinet), Alain Whyte (guitars, piano, backing vocals), Jonny Bridgwood (bass) and Spencer James Cobrin (drums).

Another version was recorded on 16 August 1997 for Morrissey's appearance on Y107's Modern Rock Live programme in Los Angeles, alongside 4 other numbers from the "Maladjusted" album. The personnel was the same as above.

 

single / album version {4:47}
"Alma Matters" single, all formats
"Maladjusted" album, original edition
"Maladjusted" album, redesigned edition [remastered 2009]
"íThe Best Of!" album
promo edit {4:06}
• promo video of "Alma Matters"

 

Not The Jack Docherty Show 24 July 1997 [tv]
This is commonly found on bootleg video compilations of Morrissey television appearances. The audio from this broadcast is not circulated on bootlegs because the performance was lipsynched.
Top Of The Pops 1 August 1997 [tv]
This is commonly found on bootleg video compilations of Morrissey television appearances. The audio from this broadcast is not circulated on bootlegs because the performance was lipsynched.
Modern Rock Live radio session 16 August 1997 {3:59}
Nothing from this 5-song radio session (also including "Maladjusted", "Roy's Keen", "Trouble Loves Me" and "Satan Rejected My Soul") has ever been given an official release, but average sounding recordings of the tracks can be found on various manufactured bootlegs as well as in digital format on the internet.
Late Show With David Letterman 19 August 1997 [tv]
This performance is circulated on bootleg video compilations of Morrissey television appearances. The audio has not yet been compiled on a manufactured bootlegs but it is found in digital format on the internet.

 

The song has been performed live 196 times by Morrissey. It was a fixture on the 1997 Maladjusted tour (52 times for 54 dates). Done frequently on the 1999-2000 Oye Esteban tour (56 times in 75 concerts). After being absent for a decade, it returned in 2011 (32 times / 47 dates) when it was a regular in the UK and Europe, then occasional in the USA and Mexico. It was done frequently in 2012 (41 times / 56 dates) and every night in 2013.

live Hollywood High School 2 March 2013 {:}
"25Live", a live concert on video

 

No demos or studio outtakes of this song have leaked to the general public at this point in time.

 

Quotes

Morrissey, in an interview to KROQ (Los Angeles radio station) in 1997 was asked about the meaning of the song: "Well... it really does mean something specific. I think it means that we should be pleased and proud of the female side of our character, of our nature. Or if we're female, we should be proud of the male side of our character and give it just as much import as the other side. So, everything's fine, it doesn't matter how you behave." (Note: in a later interview he said he wasn't really honest and this was just something he felt like saying at the time).