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Morrissey's "World Peace Is None Of Your Business" Reviewed

Morrissey is none of your business

Morrissey is none of your business

Appearances notwithstanding,  World Peace Is None Of Your Business  is business as usual for a Morrissey album even five years after his last one: two great songs and a handful of not fully formed potboilers and hang the Moz clichés, overplayed to a point and at their best the closer they get to the 60s-Smith sounds he promulgates better than any one.

The two great tracks? “Oboe Concerto” is a death song with a kicker, remembrances get lost between the classicist death marched rock tempo and the greatest line I’ve heard this year, “There’s a song I can’t stand and it is stuck in my head” and like the rhythm that goes round, the track leaks into his consciousness, “All I do is drink to absent friends’ and if you have read his autobiography all you can do is imagine them and imagine Moz, in full fledged morose horror of life. If it is the rhythm of life closing in on Morrissey, this would be a great last call. I consider it, along with “Speedway” and “I Will See You In Far Off Places”, one of his finest latter day moments and after struggling through 50 plus minutes of uneven Mozzisms it is a late peak , the last song on the album, but a real peak.

The other goodie song is the Smiths like “Staircase At The University”, a melodic highlight with a great intro and a suicide but a sort of doubtful storyline. I believe a girl would commit suicide because her grades in college sucked but I don’t believe her dad would’ve said “You’re no child of mine, as far as I’m concerned your dead” if she didn’t get straight three As . Even if it was true, the father must have been psychotic and it is such a strange story it is hard to emphasize with.

The title track, “The Bullfighter Dies” and “I’m Not A Man” are all hang the Moz clichés but on “The Bullfighter Dies” he finds a smart place to place his pro-Animal Rights opinions -rejoicing at the death of the animal tormentor. As a meat eater I tend to agree with his sentiments and I am pretty sure at some point in time meat eating will be seen as barbaric, not dissimilar to the way smoking is considered uncool.

The problem here isn’t the lyrics then, and Moz is in fine sweeping baritone voice (especially “Oboe” which swoops down upon you from far away). Nor is the musicianship weak. Long time guitarist Boz Boorer and Gustavo Manzur, on keyboards and percussion, are the names Ann Powers mentions in her NPR review. As well as producer Joe Chiccarelli, an indie pro who has worked with the Shins, Etta James, the Strokes –the list is long, as well as engineering Frank Zappa’s albums Sheik Yerbouti. The album is on Harvest records (owned by Universal now!) and the album sounds mainstream. It doesn’t have the DIY (to be honest, which of Morrissey’s albums does?) clanketyness. It sounds big.

So what is the problem? The songs aren’t that hot. “Peace”, “Neal Cassidy Drops Dead”, “Kiss Me A Lot” –they have something incomplete about them, it is like they couldn’t quite close the door on the songs. “Mountjoy” sounds important with its martial beat and destructed depression (it is about Irish prisoners) but it isn’t a good song.

Where does it fit? Better than Year Of Refusal, not as good as Ringleader Of The Tormentors, let’s hope he has a couple of better ones in him.

Grade: B+

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