Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Album review: Morrissey – World Peace is None of Your Business

Welcome to one of my sporadic album reviews where I go through track by track and say which song of this new album sounds like a song off one of the ’s old albums. Really, what more do you need to know?
I had my first listen to World Peace is None of Your Business yesterday so this is only my second listen, and just like first impressions of Big Brother housemates, all first night/week opinions are subject to change. But it’s a bit boring to review an album a month after you’ve got it, isn’t it? I laughed my arse off on the first listen, this album is funnier than Morrissey’s book.
It made me realise how long it has been between albums, too as Years of Refusal came out when I’d not been with my boyfriend long. We sat in a bedsit in Finsbury Park reading the lyrics when it came out, and laughing at lyrics like ‘it hasn’t!’ and it’s now we’re reading new lyrics nearly six years later. He does like to make us wait.
First up, World Peace is None of Your Business. God, that’s long to write out every time. This was the only song from the album I’d already heard. It starts off with what sounds like a didgeridoo, which is a bit worrying in the current post-Rolf climate. The song reminds me of I will see you in far off places, but I think that might just be the length of the title. It has a kind of Sweetie Pie-esque dreaminess about it in the verses. The lyrics are a bit clunky, but ‘each time you vote you support the process’ is bound to wind people up, which makes it a good lyric. And no, Morrissey didn’t get that idea from Russell Brand. Morrissey virtually gave birth to Russell Brand, so get it the right way round. Always nice to be called ‘a poor little fool’ by Morrissey, too.
Next is Neal Cassady drops dead. Who is Neal Cassady? I don’t know. Some black and white dude according to my Google search. It doesn’t matter, because the crux of this song is the ‘chorus’: ‘everyone has babies, babies full of rabies, rabies full of scabies… get that thing away from me.’ Not forgetting ‘tyke full of gripe.’ He also uses the word ‘nipper’ – I thought that was in the sole domain of Matthew Wright and his panellists on The Wright Stuff. There’s also an Irish sounding bit at the end where just sings no words for a while.
I’m Not a Man has a pointlessly long, almost silent 1.37 second intro… am I listening to a Bright Eyes album or a Morrissey album? This song has a decent level of theatrics and some odd lyrics – ‘beef-a-ronie’?! I can imagine him doing it live. I would plot it on the anthem scale of; not as good as It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore but better than Come Back to Camden. He also does some Chris Martin style ‘woo woo’s. Vegetarians note: there’s some funny lyrics about T-bone steak giving people cancer of the prostate.  I like to think of this song as the antidote to that awful song out at the moment that goes ‘I’m a man, yes I am.’ (That’s a reference for my younger readers.)
I’m not hugely enamoured with Istanbul but my boyfriend liked it. On first listen it made me think of The Father Who Must Be Killed – argh! But it’s not that bad. It’s quite atmospheric, I suppose. I’m not really feeling it – yet!
Earth is the Loneliness Planet of All is the one I’ve almost learnt the lyrics to already; it’s pretty catchy. It has a Spanish-sounding guitar on it and the lyrics are quite mournful. It has quite a good little instrumental bit at the end, too. It should be the next single, if Morrissey’s record label hadn’t pointlessly released almost every album as a download-only single already.
If you’re concerned about the title of Staircase at the University, you’d be right to be. A very strange song about someone throwing themselves down the stairs because of exam pressure. Like, where do you get your ideas, Morrissey, you mad sod? It’s a very jaunty little number for lyrics about someone’s ‘head splitting three ways’. This song kind of reminds me of Mute Witness, in that it has a throwaway, upbeat quality, and you know what? I like Mute Witness.
The Bullfighter Dies sounds like it’s going to be Meat is Murder-style depressing from the title, but is actually another perky one. I like the ‘mad in Madrid’ ‘ill in Seville’ lines. The chorus goes ‘hooray, hooray, the bullfighter dies.’ Who wouldn’t want to sing along to that?
My friend said she’d heard Kiss me a Lot on the radio and ‘it was shit’. I’m just surprised El Moz is getting played on the radio. Besides, it’s better than Let Me Kiss You. But what isn’t? It kind of reminds me of I Like You in that it’s sort of throwaway, but fun.
The first turkey of the album is Smiler with Knife, which is probably one of the worst titles of all time, plus the song has no tune. It plods along, painfully. This is going to be wearing down my skip button.
Kick the Bride Down the Aisle lyrically reminds me of Courtney Love’s new song Wedding Day ‘Break my neck on my wedding day/ She can’t walk but she can crawl’. It’s a funny title although the song is quite misogynistic, but it’s not like we haven’t heard it before from Moz, going as far back as William.. I noticed him doing it in his book as well, writing women off as fat or just lipstick wearers. Like Eminem, Morrissey gets a pass, but let’s not make a habit of it, hey? Why not ‘kick the husband down (or up) the aisle’? Sample lyric: ‘Look at that cow in the field, it knows more than your bride knows now.’ And I’m just pleased he wasn’t saying ‘look at that cow’ to describe the bride. Kristeen Young is also yodelling in the background if you like that sort of thing… I do, but only in short doses. I think I Will Never Marry probably summed up this sentiment a lot more poetically.
Next, unfortunately, is another duff one, but what did you expect from the title – Mountjoy?! Nonsensical lyrics and mentions of ‘man and boy’ – never good. I think ‘droning’ would be a good word to describe this song. As if that wasn’t terrifying enough a title, the next song is called Oboe Concerto. No oboes, please! And no flutes either. This isn’t a great ending to the album.
On the whole, though, three bad songs out of 12 isn’t bad, sometimes it’s only three GOOD songs out of 12. But… there’s no one song that I want to take to my heart and cuddle, either. Still at this point I’m just glad he’s still putting albums out. No, I’m just glad he’s alive.
Luckily, if you got the deluxe version, there’s some more good stuff to come. There’s a high-drama studio version of Scandinavia, which is great to have and true to the live version.
Next is possibly my favourite song of the lot (well done for not putting it on the album proper, Moz!) One of Your Own. It has an almost-underwater piano running behind it and the lyrics, ‘A job half done isn’t done’. Lyrically has that serial killer vibe about it which Moz loves so much. I like the end where he just repeats ‘I have no use for tomorrow.’
Drag the River starts with the sound of the ocean – well it sounds more like the ocean than the river. I’d say it’s quite a standard Morrissey b-side, pretty but not amazing.
Forgive Someone is pretty duff, I must say. Who exactly? Next is Julie in the Weeds, another shocking song title and quite unmemorable except for some interesting sound effects in the middle.
The final song is the hilarious Art Hounds – ‘When you can’t find a table for your fat aunt Mabel you stamp your feet and cry’ – which is brilliant to hear a studio version of, but it’s lacking a bit of the bite of the live version. It sounds a bit slowed down and not as high in the chorus? Also some of the lyrics have changed for the worst, like changing ‘If you cannot stand the real world, take my hand’ to ‘if you cannot stand this fake world take my hand’ which isn’t as good or as cool. You’ve got to love ‘I take 16 pills to send me to sleep and 16 to shake me awake’, though. It takes me back to Something is Squeezing my Skull, which takes us back to Years of Refusal – and where we started.
So that’s it. Funny, silly, dramatic, clever, childish… it’s all there. Now who does that remind you of? 

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