Album: Morrissey, Years of Refusal (Polydor)
Friday 13 February 2009
On 2006's Ringleader of the Tormentors, the confirmed celibate Morrissey seemed smitten with a rare giddy thrill of romance, offering a peek into the soul behind the carapace of sarcasm and irony.
With Years of Refusal, he's back to asserting the impossibility of mutually rewarding love in tracks such as "Black Cloud", "That's How People Grow Up" and "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", in which he proclaims that "only stone and steel accept my love". Instead the prospect of death, in particular suicide, dominates the album, through the brutally candid epitaph "When I Last Spoke to Carol" and the credit-crunch tragedy "Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed", which finds a bewildered, bereaved child searching for a scapegoat on whom to lay the blame, be they "uncivil servants", "priggish money-men" or "bailiffs with bad breath". The thing that comes across most strongly, though, is the way Morrissey's expressions reflect the casual brutality of the attitudes they evince – as in the hopelessness of numbing addiction in "Something Is Squeezing My Skull". If only the music – a lumbering prog-rock with occasional mariachi horns – were as inventive and expressive.
Pick of the album:'Something Is Squeezing My Skull', 'Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed'
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
- 2 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action