14 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Years of Refusal offers no huge surprises but still manages a few swift kicks of wit and wisdom that only Morrissey can deliver with a straight face. His song titles often set the tone. You can feel the put-down coming in something titled "You Were Good In Your Time" or "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore," and sure enough Morrissey teases and preens with his usual self-deprecating humor cutting through the tougher than usual guitar attack. As he ages, Moz is turning up the amps and the aggression, preferring pummeling guitar chords over a melodious jangle and only bringing in the synths to further firm up the sound. It's not a bludgeoning approach but for Morrissey it's definitely a sign of defiance. He isn't about to go quietly, despite the successful sensitivity of the even-paced "That's How People Grow Up." The orchestrated grandeur of "When I Last Spoke To Carol," the ephemeral pop gloss of "All You Need Is Me," and the pomp anthem of "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" all prove Morrissey's still a big kid at heart and in his head.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Years of Refusal offers no huge surprises but still manages a few swift kicks of wit and wisdom that only Morrissey can deliver with a straight face. His song titles often set the tone. You can feel the put-down coming in something titled "You Were Good In Your Time" or "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore," and sure enough Morrissey teases and preens with his usual self-deprecating humor cutting through the tougher than usual guitar attack. As he ages, Moz is turning up the amps and the aggression, preferring pummeling guitar chords over a melodious jangle and only bringing in the synths to further firm up the sound. It's not a bludgeoning approach but for Morrissey it's definitely a sign of defiance. He isn't about to go quietly, despite the successful sensitivity of the even-paced "That's How People Grow Up." The orchestrated grandeur of "When I Last Spoke To Carol," the ephemeral pop gloss of "All You Need Is Me," and the pomp anthem of "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" all prove Morrissey's still a big kid at heart and in his head.

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About Morrissey

A voice for angry outcasts and hopeless romantics alike, singer, songwriter, and former Smiths frontman Morrissey braids punk’s iconoclasm with a biting wit and a flamboyant sense of despair. Born Steven Morrissey in 1959 in Manchester, England, he went on to form The Smiths in his early twenties—a band whose blend of shimmering guitar pop and self-lacerating lyrics set the template for an incalculable number of left-of-center artists. You can hear it in everyone from Radiohead and Belle and Sebastian to the downcast heroes of emo and alt-rock—even Outkast’s André 3000 once said he wished he’d written The Smiths’ lush 1987 ballad “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” himself. Morrissey’s solo career, which began in the late ’80s after the band’s acrimonious demise, has been just as fruitful—and built on his already-rabid cult following, particularly among Latino youths. Songs like “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” and “Suedehead” use misery as a sort of security blanket, a defense against the traumas of giving one’s self over to real vulnerability. Despite being a consummate provocateur—over the years, he’s taken controversial stances all across the political spectrum—Morrissey has always managed to shrug off heavy feelings with lighthearted indifference, summing up his legacy as such to Melody Maker: “When they bury me in a church and chuck earth on my grave, I’d like the words ‘Well, at least he tried’ engraved on my tombstone.”

HOMETOWN
Manchester, England
BORN
May 22, 1959

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