Thursday, February 19, 2009

Morrissey - "Years Of Refusal"

Moz is. He is classic. He is relevant. And with “Years Of Refusal”, his ninth solo album, he is back without ever having left. It is quite amazing that at age 50, Morrissey remains as enigmatic and musically important as ever. In fact, “Years Of Refusal” is his best solo record since “Your Arsenal”. With punk inspired guitars and his iconic lyrical bite and wit, the new record brims with the most urgency since his work with The Smiths.

Album opener, “Something Is Squeezing My Skull” rants on the reliance on mind numbing anti-depression drugs, over a soundtrack that reminds me of current Morrissey lovers, Bayside. The first single, “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” is classic Morrissey pop with swooning vocals and beautiful keyboards and piano provided by Roger Joseph Manning Jr., who plays throughout the album. “When Last I Spoke To Carol” begins with an acoustic guitar riff that sounds like Moz is moving in on Justin Timberlake’s territory but transforms quickly into a Mariachi infused romp, complete with horns that surprisingly doesn’t seem out of place.

The last half of the album is reserved for more “ballad-y” type songs such as “It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore” and “You Were Good In Your Time” which both highlight his signature croon to the fullest. Lyrically, the songs deal with not dwelling in the past and death, respectively. As we have seen, age seems to deteriorate the quality of even the best of our revered musicians and artists. Morrissey, as he has always been, is self aware and has easily been able to remain vital in the music scene without relying on pastiche and novelty or by conforming to the times but by just being true to his art and remaining timeless. The last line in “All You Need Is Me” is, “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.” Lucky for us, Morrissey refuses to leave.

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