Release Date: Jul 15, 2014
Record label: Virgin EMI
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
In some alternate universe, Morrissey’s turned his back on this music lark for a life as a beloved raconteur: a former pop star who’s left his singing and gladioli-swinging behind him for a cushy gig as a snarky media darling. There he goes again: bantering with Stephen Fry on QI, trading barbs with Andrew Neil on This Week, installed as the sardonic face of The One Show to harangue all who brave his sofa. A new album? Pah, he need never bother with another lyric or riff again.Thankfully, things are a little different for our Morrissey.
It’s business as usual on planet Morrissey: life is still a pigsty, meat is still murder and the world is still full of crashing bores; guitars still go crunch, falsettos still soar, and the best titles are still the the most disappointing songs (‘Kick The Bride Down the Aisle’ is the new ‘All the Lazy Dykes’) and yet none of this is really a criticism - the great Moz, for all his truculent, rent-a-quote, forever-miserably-misunderstood demeanor is remarkably consistent over a career that now encompasses 10 solo records (plus compilations,) and a book. While there are certainly peaks in that lot there are surprisingly few troughs (Kill Uncle, Maladjusted and the last third of his autobiography being the obvious exceptions). You rarely expect the new one from Steven Patrick to set the world alight, but he knows what his fans want, and World Peace Is None Of Your Business dollops it reliably like the dinner lady in the lunch-line.
The appearance of a new Morrissey record is always cause for a good degree of celebration. He’s the perfect indie-rock icon, a superstar who can sell out LA’s Staples Center while still maintaining a sense of underground street cred. His distinctive take on life remains characterized by a literacy in his lyricism and musicality as influenced by old standards as it is by the subversive punk he came of age listening to.
In fighting form after five years away It might be the sort of thing that sets off alarm bells in some quarters, but there is violent imagery in seven of the 12 tracks on this album. It manifests itself in a variety of ways: from self-harming knife-play to a matador gored by a bull, from a parent identifying the lifeless body of a gang member son to a pressured student committing suicide. This being Morrissey, however, some would say it’s par for the course; spectres of tragedy and/or death have hung over his lyrics since the first Smiths album 30 years ago.
Could Morrissey ever not be embattled? Bloody-minded if not from the womb, then certainly from secondary education onwards, the Morrissey persona that crystallised in the Smiths is one of enduringly indignant defence. Over the course of 10 solo albums he has continued to meet the world's spite with his own weary spleen. It could just be, however, that things have rarely been rosier for the singer, his recently cancelled US tour notwithstanding.
In 2011, Morrissey published a list of the 10 albums from his back catalogue "of which I am most proud". It offered what you might charitably describe as a unique interpretation of where Morrissey's career highlights lay. The Smiths releases on which his reputation is usually seen to rest were nowhere to be seen, nor was his acclaimed solo debut Viva Hate.
Morrissey is one of those artists now—inarguably not in his peak era, still adored by an (incredibly, near-sycophantically) fervent fanbase, and still cranking out music with some degree of a predictable pace. He's one of those living legends, to some degree, iconic of an older form of popstar, iconic of an era of alternative and college radio to which many contemporary bands are indebted. Some of those types stall out and become walking greatest hits collections.
Arriving on the heels of Autobiography, a 2013 memoir that reveled in the cadences of revelation without ever laying bare his soul, World Peace Is None of Your Business feels curiously bereft of Morrissey's lyrical elegance. This, like so many of Moz's moves, is certainly deliberate. There is a directness to the lyrics on World Peace Is None of Your Business that initially feels unsettling, contradicting Morrissey's long history of obfuscation and sly winks.
No stranger to controversy, that arch provocateur Steven Patrick Morrissey has been ruffling feathers again in recent months. After his over-long and over-written but nonetheless fascinating autobiography was absurdly published as a Penguin Classic at the end of 2013, this spring has seen him having to cancel most of his US tour due to a respiratory illness allegedly caught from opening act Kristeen Young. And Mozza’s 10th solo album World Peace Is None Of Your Business is also likely to cause a bit of a stir, not so much because of his barbed lyrics, which we have come to expect, but because musically it is a departure from his previous work.
Being misunderstood is Morrissey's great joy in life, as he keeps proving in World Peace – a much stronger album than fans were expecting at this point. The fantastic title song is a doo-wop rant against cops, governments, armies, etc. Moz doesn't fare as well protesting Beefaroni (rhymes with "Ah, but lonely") or mean professors. But he saves two stunners for last: "Mountjoy" is his dear-hero-imprisoned lament for the late Irish writer Brendan Behan, and "Oboe Concerto" resembles the Smiths classic "Death of a Disco Dancer," as Morrissey mourns the dead companions of his youth, singing, "All I do is drink to absent friends." .
Review Summary: Bigmouth strikes again. . .
Artists as simultaneously beloved and despised as Stephen Patrick Morrissey don’t come by very often. Since the 1980s, as frontman for Manchester post-punk legends The Smiths, Morrissey has served as a voice for the shy and bookish, the sensitive and the romantic. And in that time, he’s also been an overactive magnet for controversy, be it through his misanthropy toward Margaret Thatcher, Her Royal Highness, Americans, omnivores or any musical artist he deems a loathsome bore.
It’s animals versus humans on Morrissey’s latest album. And never for a moment do you have to wonder which side the star is on. In the tune “Earth Is the Loneliest Planet,” Morrissey assesses our role at the top of the food chain and sneers, “Humans are not really very humane.” In “I'm Not a Man,” he hopes those who “wolf down T-bone steak” contract “cancer of the prostate,” while in “The Bullfighter Dies,” he cheers as one does.
It may have been almost half a decade since we were last offered a full-length from Morrissey, but you wouldn’t have guessed. Fake Twitter accounts, cancelled shows, a bleeding ulcer and a 457-page autobiography have all weaved their way into the legend that is the man himself over the last five years, and yet, Steven Patrick Morrissey still has something to say. This time, though, with his tenth solo effort, there’s a decidedly different tone to proceedings.
"We were paralyzed by the dumbness of the times. So we did our best to change them." That's Morrissey, on how clueless gatekeepers blocked the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" from bigger commercial success, in the new book Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s. His comments here are striking partly for how little has changed—in Morrissey's telling, everyone else was wrong: the other Smiths, who were "embarrassed" by the lyrics; producer John Porter, who downplayed them; Rough Trade head Geoff Travis, who relegated the song to a UK B-side; and the American chartkeepers and TV producers, who failed to recognize the track's genius.
Right on cue, as Morrissey releases his 10th solo album, the world’s attention moves to conflict in the Middle East. As I’m typing, the latest update is that Israeli forces are dropping leaflets in northern Gaza, warning Palestinian residents to move away from Hamas sites to avoid military strikes. The death toll of the attacks so far is approaching 170, which includes too many kids.
's Years of Refusal found Morrissey at his most vicious and effervescent, spewing vitriol to cut through the crushing weight of the world he's ever certain is solely on his shoulders. In 2014, that righteous indignation has become indignant righteousness; in other words, Bigmouth has brought his bludgeon, and all that can be done is to brace oneself.The lyrical edge and wit that once defined Moz's lyrics are just about absent here. "Everyone has babies, babies full of rabies, rabies full of scabies, Scarlet has a fever, ringlets full of ringworm, angel of distemper, the little fella...
Long an easy target for criticism, Morrissey seems to have amped up the absurdity of his perceived persona to cartoonish proportions, gleefully baiting naysayers with a series of songs and lyrics that seem to exist solely to provoke a visceral response from his detractors. The trouble with this approach is that, in the process, you often alienate those who’ve stuck with you through the ups and downs, supporting your artistic detours, ill-advised rants and downright diva-esque behavior. Even his most ardent supporters will have a tough time backing up many of the lyrical absurdities throughout World Peace Is None of Your Business following years of tour cancellations and curmudgeonly ridiculous rants in the press.
Had Morrissey's last album, Years Of Refusal, not been such a great one, it would be easier to be positive about the new one. However, when my only notes after several listens are "too long" and "oh god, is he rapping?" it's clear that something went very wrong in the last five years. He's gone from fiery to barely lukewarm. Part of the problem is the departure of long-time collaborator Alain Whyte, who's been replaced by keyboardist Gustavo Manzur.
It’s sort of a shame that Morrissey’s new album, his 10th as a solo artist and first in five years, trails a cloud of bad publicity. Halfway into his latest tour, he came down with a virus and began canceling dates. He made it to Boston for a superb show at the Opera House in early June, and then abruptly scrapped the entire rest of the tour. Morrissey played the blame game, claiming his opening act had gotten him sick.
Sorry Dad, I've failed. I'm approaching my 30s and I've just enjoyed another Morrissey record. I know what I said about the book, how I told you that the nasty stuff he said about Julie Burchill's legs and the 473 pages of photocopied invoices from a court case made me sure I'd grown out of it all. And yes, I remember when you rang me up and said, "Son, not even you, with your pasty face and aversion to light, can defend 'The Kid's A Looker'." And I agreed.
Morrissey’s “World Peace Is None of Your Business,” his 10th solo album, is not a good record, but, on the other hand, it is almost a perfect one. In its stompy art song streaked with slick noise and nuevo-flamenco guitar, its clumsy lyrics, its condemnation of so much human endeavor, all its stolid idiosyncrasy, “World Peace” (Harvest/Capitol) constitutes its own weird kind of pedantic success. So much so that a better record — like his last one, “Years of Refusal,” from 2009, or his best one, “Vauxhall and I,” from 1994, rereleased last month by Parlophone — can seem timid or half-formed by comparison.
What, you thought he'd gotten everything out of his system? Sure, Morrissey splashed enough bile across the pages of last year's bestselling "Autobiography" — excoriating various business partners as well as his former bandmates in the Smiths — that it might've seemed the famously combative British pop star would need never again vent his well-exercised spleen. This is a modal window. But if there's one thing Morrissey has shown us over his three-decade career, it's that excess is a starting place, not an end point.
Morrissey World Peace Is None of Your Business (Harvest) In his 2013 autobiography, Morrissey reveals that he nearly killed his mother during birth. (Head "too big.") Illness then kept him hospitalized for months as an infant. Moz and his mum survived, but the singer and calamity have gone hand in hand literally since Day One. Such innate tragedy – or eternal expectation of latent disaster – still defines the UK balladeer and his 10th solo effort.
What do you want to hear from Mr. Stephen Patrick Morrissey on his first solo effort in five years? An acidic “fuck you” to a newlywed? Maybe a bit of half-hearted Beat poetry that speaks of “babies full of rabies” and a “tyke full of grippe”? Or how about an overwhelmed student bowing under the pressure and tossing herself down a set of stairs? All that and more is here for you on World Peace Is None Of Your Business, a strange, cumbersome and often entertaining beast of an album that is likely to be the dourest LP released in 2014. The grim spirit that hovers above many of these songs is especially disappointing as this is one of the most musically ambitious projects Morrissey has attached his name to in some time.
opinion byMATTHEW M. F. MILLER What’s the difference between buying a Morrissey album and buying Morrissey concert tickets? Once you buy the album it can’t get canceled! (Ba-dum ching!) Yeah, it’s an abysmal joke, but that’s pretty much what folks think of Morrissey these days – an easy target. A ubiquitous pop culture punchline.
“If it’s not love / Then it’s the bomb / That will bring us together,” Morrissey sings on The Smiths’ 1986 single “Ask.” Since then, those words have been the singer’s standing statement on world peace—that is, until the release of his new album, World Peace Is None Of Your Business. The name is more than just another phrase-twisting Morrissey quip. On the album’s bland, plodding title track, he rails against voting, paying taxes, and income inequality.