Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959), professionally known as Morrissey, is an English singer, songwriter and author. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the indie rock band The Smiths, which was active from 1982 to 1987. Since then, Morrissey has had a solo career, making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart on ten occasions.
Born in Davyhulme, Lancashire, to a working-class Irish migrant family, Morrissey grew up in Manchester. As a child he developed a love of literature, kitchen sink realism and popular music. Involved in Manchester’s punk rock scene during the late 1970s, he fronted two punk bands, The Nosebleeds and Slaughter & The Dogs, with little success. Beginning a career in music journalism, he authored a number of books on music and film in the early 1980s. With Johnny Marr he established The Smiths in 1982, soon attracting national recognition for their self-titled debut album. As the band’s frontman, Morrissey attracted attention both for his intelligent, witty, and sardonic lyrics and his idiosyncratic appearance; deliberately avoiding rock machismo, he cultivated the aesthetic of a social outsider who eschewed drugs and embraced celibacy. The Smiths released five further albums – including the critically acclaimed Meat is Murder and The Queen is Dead – and had a string of hit singles. Personal differences between Morrissey and Marr resulted in The Smiths’ separation in 1987.
In 1988, Morrissey launched his solo career with the album Viva Hate. This and its follow-up albums – Bona Drag, Kill Uncle, Your Arsenal, and Vauxhall and I – all did well in the UK Albums Chart and spawned a number of hit singles. Having left Britain and moved to Los Angeles, during the mid-1990s Morrissey’s image began to shift into that of a burlier figure, who toyed with patriotic imagery and working-class masculinity; his discussions of British national identity resulted in accusations of racism, which he denied. In the mid-to-late 1990s, his subsequent albums, Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted, also charted but were less well received. After a hiatus between 1998 and 2003, Morrissey released a successful comeback album, You Are the Quarry, in 2004. Relocating to Italy, ensuing years saw the release of albums Ringleader of the Tormentors, Years of Refusal, and World Peace Is None of Your Business. In 2013 Morrissey released his autobiography, followed by his first novel in 2015.
Highly influential, Morrissey is widely credited as being a seminal figure in the emergence of indie rock and Britpop. He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest lyricists in British history, with his lyrics having become the subject of academic study. He has courted controversy with his forthright opinions – endorsing vegetarianism and animal rights, condemning royalty and prominent politicians, and questioning issues of British national and cultural identity.
World Peace Is None Of Your Business—-After years of waiting, the opening strains of this track greeted me and I felt myself almost swoon. Morrissey enters with his sardonic and classic vocal….reminding me all of the reasons why I fell in love with this man. The sarcasm masked with the pretty music is just as you would expect. This is Morrissey at his best. Pretty timely with the climate in the US these days.
Neal Cassidy Drops Dead—-With a guitar blast, the track begins with a noisy somewhat distorted delivery. I wonder how many people discovered Neal Cassidy after this track was released. Of course I love the rhythmic delivery for Steven…the music though is a bit all over the place. There are nice swings through sound that keep it from being to irritating. There are times when the voice seems pushed to the back…but still an ok song. The odd Spanish style guitar towards the end is bizarre….but would you expect anything less?
I’m Not A Man—-With an odd morose intro, this track is very slow to start. The intro seems to last forever as you wait and wait for the second act. Finally, the voice emerges and you are given a beautiful lesson into the beauty of this man and his ability. the sardonic words…the rhyming of bizarre references that seem to magically work. The sedate music that builds and builds and allows Steven to gust and blow his opinions in a beautiful and remarkable setting. This is classic…I gush….yes I gush. I love this man.Only Morrissey could rhyme ‘t-bone steak with cancer of the prostate’! This is an incredible track.
Istanbul—-Delivering a classic Morrissey sound with this track, you realize the Man has never gone….just has struggled to be heard. Every track on this release is as important and timely and crucial as anything that he has delivered in his career. I love the melody of this track…the swirling string sounds that never drown the vocal. The odd guitars from Boz that still allow the spotlight to be on the words and the sentiment. Just a beautiful…huge track. There was never a doubt…..
Earth Is The Loneliest Place —-Morrissey emerges from an odd Spanish guitar intro that seems like it is right in your face. The production moves the vocal it seems, as the song progresses….but Morrissey and his sentiment rise above everything. You realize the words from this man could very well be true…..to him, it seems like a lonely existence…even if it is at his own making. The odd organ is phenomenal…the song ebbs and flows and wraps itself around his voice…..this is magnificent.
Staircase At The University—-Noisier and delivered with a sense of urgency, this is just wonderful. Morrissey tries to crack that classic falsetto…but settles for the upper register that brings you back to the classic days of his career. This track….morose…..sarcastic and vivid with subtle savagery, this is just wonderful. Perhaps not meant to bring a smile to your face it will….this is The Headmaster Ritual Part II……incredible. The pressure for success is every where. This track is very noisy…..but never takes from the vocal.
The Bullfighter Dies—-With a horn intro, you know you are in for a treat…just from the title of the song. Morrissey has never denied his distaste for the art of Bullfighting. This is a classic sarcastic delivery from Moz….demanding that anyone who indulges i this sport should be killed and not celebrated. Really funny in a sense…but rings true for the activist in me.
Kiss Me A Lot—-With wonderful Spanish horns as a slight introduction, Morrissey enters with his classic croon and delivers line after line of un-requited [requited?] love. Morrissey practically begs for love and affection….but sets himself so far from the human race you wonder if he can accept it when it is offered. I love the man…but analyzing his personality gives me a headache. This is wonderfully happy and upbeat…making me smile.
Smiler With Knife—Quiet and introspective…but built around lyrics that make you question personality and trust. Morrissey takes the happiest of situations and manages to put a negative twist on things….allowing you to wonder what the thoughts of your beloved might be while you are in a deep and peaceful slumber. It makes you think…and that is Morrissey. Sex and love are not the same.
Kick The Bride Down The Aisle—-An almost epic keyboard intro, ushering in a quiet guitar and a lonely lyric that makes you laugh to yourself. The sarcastic timbre’ of the lyrics are close to my heart…for they are pure Morrissey. The tone of the song…..marry me and support me….are classic eye-blind wearing Moz…..never believing marriage could be about just love.
Mountjoy—-Wonderful classic acoustic guitars built around sound effects recall older Morrissey tracks. The lyrics…again…full of vivid imagery that makes you sit back and wonder exactly how you are supposed to take the whole meaning of the song. But trying to analyze Morrissey lyrics lead you down a dark path. Instead, I embrace the beauty and clarity of the vocal and the simplicity of the melody
Oboe Concerto—-Another track that is ushered in with vocal effects and odd sounds, Morrissey begins his vocal ruefully wondering where the classics have gone….but at the same time making fun of himself. How many Morrissey songs get stuck in the head….lol He is in such great vocal form of this release…sounding way younger than his years…..this is just wonderfully brilliant delivered lines and vocals.
Scandanavia—-Drum heavy at the onset, Morrissey enters in that upper register that almost makes me swoon. Singing over erratic music and making the words match perfectly, this is a true art. The noise has no effect on the beauty and the introspection of the words. Morrissey can take a wonderful sentiment and turn it into something dark and morose…..such as this track. A beautiful place that can not escape the ugliness of human kind. Remarkable.
One Of Our Own—-Dark and jaunty at the same time, this is again classic. The ability to paint such a dark picture around pleasant sounds amazes me. Morrissey sounds perfectly evil as he begs ‘give me the gun’…..making me afraid for a moment. The man has so many sides…he is an enigma…a hero…a fear of what I could become.
Drag The River—-The sounds of the river make you afraid….lol. The music is light and pleasant…the lyrics full of sardonic humor and laugh-ability. Such as ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’…..this has a comical edge….but is also self-effacing and sad. This is wonderfully typical….but I will tell you this…..I could never ask for anything more.
Forgive Someone—-Speaking on the simple act of forgiveness, Moz manages to cause a discussion. Seemingly to not believe in the art of forgiveness….the idea speaks of the man’s difficult-ness. I believe Morrissey lives in a self-perpetuated image, that the man himself is much more pleasant upon becoming acquainted. Only a dream of mine…..but I love him none the less.
Julie In The Weeds—-With a very odd intro and ensuing music, again Morrissey shows the art of wrapping lyrics written around music…for that is how he works. He manages to take an idea….and build a story on the instrumentation….just phenomenal. This track is not a favorite….filler no doubt…but still something to dwell on and try to dissect. I will never understand him….I can only embrace him.
Art-Hounds—-Full of horns at the onset, I was prepared to hate this track….until the vocal emerged and wrapped itself around me. The purity of the voice and the sarcastic humor is just brilliant. I can picture Morrissey back in the Warhol days…wondering how he would survive with Andy and crew. Morrissey delivers a stellar falsetto I have not heard in forever….just that was worth listening to the song. This is right up there with the best….rushed…full of edge and urgency. Delivered with magnificent grace. I love this man!
***** out of 5