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Saturday, July 19, 2014

World Peace is None of My Business

I think I secretly knew better than to schedule a trip to Hershey, PA to see the tour that coincided with the tenth studio album of one Mister Stephen Patrick Morrissey. Not that I'm particularly prone to psychic revelations or anything, but after a less-than-adequate (ahem) touring record, the news that he would not be gracing the stage of the town o' chocolate did not come as any kind of shock. Crisis and broken heart averted, I eagerly received World Peace is None of Your Business from my husband and step-daughter as a present.

Morrissey's touring woes aside, the live performances that did go on and the albums that were released were always top-notch. I vividly remember closing my eyes during his recreation of, "Death of a Disco Dancer," on the Ringleader of the Tormentors tour and feeling as though I were transported through time to a lithe and Smiths-backed Morrissey youthfully debuting his creation for the first time. I unabashedly cried both times I saw his entrance onto stage because I knew that each time could be the last time...each album could be the last album before retirement. To receive WPINOYB was doubling thrilling. 

After 2009's Years of Refusal, I was so pleased with the stride that Morrissey had hit. Unlike so many aging artists that release albums that grasp at the straws of times gone by, his lyrics were relevant and charming while still having the sting of his acerbic wit. How then, could we fail with this 2014 release? 

I don't know, ask him.

WPINOYB is musically terribly boring, lyrically flippant (even for Morrissey) and socially irritating. To add insult to injury, he's had the unmitigated GALL to feature Kristeen Young on backing vocal for several songs. THE Kristeen Young whom he blamed for making him so ill that he had to cancel his tour. When I saw Kristeen Young perform I have to say that I felt ill as well, not to mention having the complete hankering to throw rotten tomatoes on the stage. 

Admittedly, I listened to the album for the first time in the car and chalked up my feelings to not paying attention to lyrics and musical subtlety. I tried it again just today (and a third time as I type) from beginning to blessed end, and I felt strongly enough to blog about it's utter stinkosity. TO BLOG ABOUT IT, PEOPLE. 

Although his voice is as angelic as ever, getting through things like rhyming "fool" with "fool," and using the couplet "Beef-a-ronie/ah but lonely," stunk of painted-on-cleverness that used to flow so effortlessly from a man that I would consider a lyrical genius. In the track that features the aforementioned couplet("I'm Not a Man"), he croons about being a man in some kind of, as Dustin put it, finger-wagging way. In fact, Morrissey's finger wags into goddamned some kind of constantly-repeating oblivion. 

Earth is the loneliest planet of all
Earth is the loneliest planet of all
day after day you say "one day"
day after day you say "one day"
but you're in the wrong place
and you've got the wrong face
and humans are not really very humane
and Earth is the loneliest planet of all

Rolling Stone said something like, this album is stronger than Morrissey fans anticipated...which, doesn't really mean anything except that the music industry thinks that Morrissey is old and superimposes that opinion on Morrissey fans who were coming off the high of Years of Refusal and were hungry for more. Rolling Stone also said that the two "stunning" tracks on this album were "Mountjoy" and "Oboe Concerto," so I give them an extra listen just now and find a bit of solace in lyrics that show shades of Morrissey, 

A swagger hides the fear in here
by this rule we all breathe
and there is no one upon this earth 
whom I'd feel sad to leave

And music that haunts me a bit like maybe "Suffer Little Children" or, as I mentioned before, "Death of a Disco Dancer." 

One of the last lines of the closing track, "Oboe Concerto," references his drinking to absent friends and it makes me a little heartbroken that this may be his swansong. If this is the last studio album, please let there be a cache of unreleased material that doesn't feature a fifteen minute version of  "Kiss Me A lot."

and the rhythm of life goes 'round.
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