One of the most complex personalities in music, Morrissey’s 5th solo album has accentuated that complexity. A politically-fuelled LP that features everything from questioning “Victim, or life’s adventurer?” to describing a young female university student throwing herself down a flight of stairs.
The opening track is a musically pleasing political satire that outlines Morrissey’s absolute tiredness and lack of faith in the world’s governments. Telling us that “each time [we] vote, [we] support the process.” Its a little bit stereotypical Morrissey. The harsh and tough second track “Neal Cassidy Drops Dead” contrasts dull drumbeat with smooth Latino guitar, it could be said this is the first filler on the record.
“I Am Not A Man” is another hopeless trademark Morrissey track in which he feels out of touch with the modern man. It’s an exploration of societal gender roles and things he finds disgusting about the male gender like “picaresque wife beater vests.”
“Istanbul” might be the best track on the album, a purely fictional story of a “father searching for a song” set upon the background of Middle Eastern melodies. It pictures Moz creeping through backstreets trying to find his “brown eyed son” and is also the most emotive and image-provoking 4 and a half minutes on the LP.
Like “I Am Not A Man,” “Earth Is The Loneliest Planet of All” is a cruel depiction of how Morrissey looks at the world, and it’s not exactly a masterpiece lyrically.
“Staircase At The University” could be seen as funny, if the idea of a young student becoming far too stressed and throwing herself from a landing is funny; which compared to any other of Morrissey’s solo tracks, probably is. “The Bullfighter Dies” is quite funny, not for it’s subject matter, but for the internal rhyme in this animal-rights-centred track. “Gaga in Malaga”, “no mercy in Murcia,” and “mental in Valencia.”
“Kiss Me A Lot” talks of secretive romances in “churchyards” and “backyards.” This can be interpreted however, but he seems to be enjoying it. “Smiler With A Knife” portrays physical pain in a largely acoustic track, the tortured lyrics are sobering and suggest Moz has been hurt plenty before. “Kick The Bride Down The Aisle” is a miserable outlook on marriage as he is the unwanted guest at a wedding trying to stop the marriage, he sees the female wants the groom’s money and tells the other guests exactly that.
“Mountjoy” is a song about the Dublin prison that was home to many members of the IRA. It feels an unfinished track and although it is insightful in topic it is far from that lyrically. The final track is another that will be acknowledged but seldom referred to as brilliant, “Oboe Concerto” is a look back at the
old Morrissey as the new Morrissey. It would be a shame is this was the final track of his solo career but might illustrate that this album is unfortunately slightly underwhelming, or maybe I fall guilty to expecting the same genius as in the earlier years. It’s released July 15th.