Years of Refusal after months of refusal

Moz featuring somewhat creepy child that isn't his.

Moz featuring somewhat creepy child that isn't his.

It took me a couple (nearly three) months to buy it, but I did, frankly because I’m in love with Morrissey.  Prior to Years of Refusal‘s I heard “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris,” and was rather unimpressed.  I’ve been under the impression that Morrissey’s guitarist/musical director, Boz Boorer, has been rather booring (sic for a cheap pun).

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly am of the persuasion that Moz’s previous album was actually better than most music in general (to the credit of both Moz and Boz), but held up against, say, Viva Hate and Vaxhaull and I (to name two very solid albums), Ringleader of the Tormentors is not especially great.  Something about Ringleader didn’t quite grab me in the way that even You Are the Quarry did (and did well).  But I eventually got over my fears and bought it.  Here’s what I discovered:

First the bad news: Years of Refusal (like Ringleader before it) has not [yet] captured me heart like the Morrissey tunes I am in love with.  Something about this album feels slightly soulless and overproduced, at least musically.

This next bit can be interpreted either way: the lyrics of this album are very strong, very aggressive, and even combative/pissy.  I personally enjoy when Morrissey is pompus (though I can’t say quite the same for Bono).

Now the good news: I’d consider the album to be rather dynamic.  Morrissey considers this work his strongest, and I would somewhat agree with that as far as sheer vocal dynamics go.  Morrissey demonstrates on this album, perhaps better than any of his recent efforts, that he is an excellent vocalist; clear, pitch-perfect, and versatile.  The backing music is mediocre though (unfortunately, something I’ve come to expect from Boz), with several strong points, but leaves you begging for a Smiths reunion.  *Also, there are coyote howls in the middle of a song (maybe that will entice you to purchase and listen to find them).

If you’re a fan of Morrissey and you don’t think he’s abandoned everything he once stood for when he wrote You Are the Quarry, (we’ll ignore Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted), you might enjoy this album.

Your thoughts on Years of Refusal?

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About Elijah

My name is Elijah and I am a proud Angeleño-Glaswegian. I serve as Minister of Queen's Park Govanhill Parish Church. My other interests include life in active community, writing, performing and partaking of music, collecting vinyl records, hiking/outdoors, urban exploration, Celtic FC and the Detroit Tigers.

6 responses to “Years of Refusal after months of refusal”

  1. Pete says :

    Elijah,

    I bought the previous album (ringleader something or another?) after having little interest in Morrissey for a long time. I agreed with the consensus that it was a good album and somewhat of a return to form, but it did not cause me to want to listen to it over and over the way that his earlier albums did, and I eventually sold it back to the record store. I don’t think I’m going to take a chance on this new one, but if I hear a song or two that wins me over then I’ll consider it. Basically, I’m a Viva Hate and Bona Drag man.

  2. Sgt. Grumbles says :

    I will let Morrissey’s own words from the song “Get Off the Stage” (which it has been said was written to Mick Jagger) stand as a self-fulfilling prophecy:

    “Oh, you silly old man
    You silly old man
    You’re making a fool of yourself
    So get off the stage

    You silly old man
    In your misguided trousers
    With your mascara and your Fender guitar
    And you think you can arouse us ?

    But the song that you just sang
    It sounds exactly like the last one
    And the next one
    I bet you it will sound
    Like this one

    Downstage, and offstage
    Don’t you feel all run in ?
    And do you wonder when they will take it away ?
    This is your final fling

    But then applause ran high
    But for the patience of the ones behind you
    As a verse drags on like a month drags on
    It’s very short, but it seems very long

    And the song that you just sang
    It sounds exactly like the last one
    And the next one
    I bet you it will sound
    Like this one

    Get off the stage
    Oh, get off the stage
    And when we’ve had our money back
    Then I’d like your back in plaster

    Oh, I know that you say
    How age has no meaning
    Oh, but here is your audience now
    And they’re screaming :

    ‘Get off the stage’
    Oh, get off the stage
    Because I’ve given you enough of my time
    And the money that wasn’t even mine
    Have you seen yourself recently ?

    Oh, get off the stage…

    For whom the bell tolls.”

    I still love you Stephen Patrick. The wounds of a friend can be trusted. Give it up man…you’ve passed your second wind. The sea wants to take you, the knife wants to slit you.

  3. Elijah says :

    Pete,

    I’m with you on being a VH/BD kind of man.

    Sgt. Grumbles,

    We’ve discussed your perception of Moz as this washed up man before, but have you listened to the album in full yet? There’s something there…What do you suggest he does? Quits?

  4. Sgt. Grumbles says :

    Perhaps a quote from Trainspotting will explain:

    Sick Boy: It’s certainly a phenomenon in all walks of life.
    Mark “Rent-boy” Renton: What do you mean?
    Sick Boy: Well, at one time, you’ve got it, and then you lose it, and it’s gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed…
    Mark “Rent-boy” Renton: Some of his solo stuff’s not bad.
    Sick Boy: No, it’s not bad, but it’s not great either. And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it’s actually just shite.

    But I will probably listen to the album because I love him.

  5. Mark says :

    I love Bona Drag, but sadly only have it on cassette, which basically means I don’t have it. This post did cause me to throw in a Smiths album into the car cd though, so did get a little Mozzer.

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