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?