Newest Review: ... than many of his solo records with no out and out stinkers to tiresomely navigate. Records like Kill Uncle, Southpaw Grammar and Maladjus... more
Dreams I'll Never See
Years Of Refusal - Morrissey
Member Name: Jake Speed
Years Of Refusal - Morrissey
Advantages: One of his better solo records
Disadvantages: Parts sound the same
It's true that Morrissey albums do tend to end up sounding all the same in the end and he's really not one for doing or trying anything very different, more of a take me or leave me as I am character, but Years of Refusal has some great moments and is more consistent than many of his solo records with no out and out stinkers to tiresomely navigate. Records like Kill Uncle, Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted had some terrible songs to endure (especially Maladjusted, an awful album with some of my least favourite Morrissey singles and songs ever). Years of Refusal is much better and begins with Something Is Squeezing My Skull, an energetic and pugnacious start to the album with huge drums. This is a fast and - for Morrissey - loud song that sounds like something off his Southpaw Grammar album but with much more of a sense of melody than most of the songs on that largely pointless record. Something Is Squeezing My Skull is pretty good if nothing amazingly great and is about Morrissey's long battles with prescription drugs ("I'm doing very well, I can blackout the present and the past now, I know by now you think I should have straightened myself out, Thank you, drop dead!") and depression. "I'm amazed I made it this far," muses Morrissey in the year of his fiftieth birthday. Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed is next and a lovely song with chiming and reverberating guitars. Morrissey sings very nicely, sounding like the young Morrissey of the Kill Uncle early nineties era, more softer. The chorus is sweeping and elegant although the lyrics are very sad and about a child coping with the suicide of a parent. It's certainly one of the highlights here.
Black Cloud is rather forgettable, trying to be glammy and distorted but never really going anywhere very special. The lyrics are about unrequited love, something which eternally fascinates Morrissey. There is usually a Gatsby moment on every Morrissey song. "I can choke myself to please you and I can sink much lower than usual." I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris is a wonderful song. Solo Morrissey at his best. Beautiful melody with piano and wonderful timing and phrasing by Morrissey to get the maximum effect. Very pretty with enjoyable and touching lyrics. Morrissey is throwing his arms around Paris because "only stone and steel accept his love." This is one of the best singles Morrissey has put out in years. All You Need Is Me is an ironic title and not a bad song. Sounds very much like some off Morrissey's 1988 debut album Viva Hate. His singing is much less mannered than it has been on previous solo records and his elasticity with words and occasional shifts in tone are good. Very Morrissey lyrics too. "I was a small fat child in a welfare house, there was only one thing I ever dreamed about." The song is rather like Speedway on Vauxhall & I where it aims digs at music journalists who have nothing better to do than criticise him and pore over his (in the context of the world and news as a whole) very minor controversies and statements. You'd think Morrissey wouldn't be bothered by this stuff anymore but he's obviously still sensitive. He also touches on his core fanbase who have sustained him in lean times.
When Last I Spoke to Carol is a bit weird. It's the Morrissey who lived in Los Angeles and (strangely) suddenly had a rabid Mexican fanbase. Why Mexicans in Los Angeles went mad for the most English person in the world I don't know. This is a bit carnival and Chicano. The sort of thing Julio Cesar Chavez would have playing as he made his way to a boxing ring with an oversized sombrero. Nothing great really and you could happily live without mariachi Morrissey. Well I can anyway. It's not exactly Everyday Is Like Sunday and one of the weakest things here. That's How People Grow Up has Morrissey appearing (as usual) to have given up on love. Or maybe it gave up on him or they came to a mutual understanding. "There are things worse in life than never being someone's sweetie," memorably sings our hero. That could be a line from the Morrissey of The Smiths. Very charming. This is a good one on the whole. Very strident and punchy Your Arsenal style guitars and Morrissey singing like he did during the Bona Drag era. His crooning warbles are very impressive and roll back the years. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell is a less than cheery song but has an important message. Be nice to people you know and make the most of your time with them because they won't always be around. Life is short and unpredictable and one day goodbye really will be farewell. "How Time grips you slyly in its spell and, before you know, goodbye will be farewell and you will never see the one you love again." Fast song but nothing amazing.
It's Not Your Birthday Anymore is melodramatic Morrissey! Goes very over the top and drama laden. A bit like a new version of I've Changed My Plea To Guilty. I don't think it's that brilliant but it's alright. I think melodramatic Morrissey is a bit hit or miss. He's better at pop songs. The lyrics seem to be about the genuine nature of love and words. Do people always mean what they say? No, is the answer. "All those syrupy, sentimental things that we said?" You Were Good in Your Time is a slow one. A death bed Morrissey seems to be lamenting the days when he was important to people and made them feel less "alone and hunchbacked"! This goes on for about five minutes or something. It's solid enough but does stretch one's patience a bit in the end. Sorry Doesn't Help is rather self explanatory and not bad while I'm OK by Myself is a nice way to end Years of Refusal and a lustrous and pretty song. The lyrics are quintessentially Morrissey and he's got more or less the same message he had when he was the skinny lead singer with The Smiths all those years ago. He doesn't need anyone else and is quite happy on his own thank you very much. Years of Refusal is a good album overall and continues Morrissey's Indian Summer of surprising success and decent records. Definitely one of the better solo efforts from the displaced icon.
Summary: Solid Morrissey offering