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Morrissey hits the mark


Morrissey - You are the Quarry
(Attack Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 19, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

In the seventeen years since Morrissey walked away from The Smiths (one of the small handful of bands to rise above the mundane, medicore pop that dominated the '80s) the singer has produced a wealth of brilliant material, along with almost as much forgettable misfires.
On his seventh solo album You are the Quarry, however, Morrissey once again hits the mark with an effort filled with his signature biting wit and cleverly crafted compositions (only this time without any extra baggage) that manages to stand up quite nicely with his earlier achievements.
On the opening number "America Is Not The World" the Englishman-turned-Los Angeles resident questions freedom and opportunity in the U.S. with lines like, "where the President is never black, female or gay, and until that day, you've got nothing to say to me" and "don't you wonder why in Estonia they say 'hey you big fat pig, you fat pig'?" But in his own tragic form, the singer ultimately professes his love over and over for America. In fact, many of the things he seems to be attacking (the U.S., lesbians, Jesus, etc.), he actually ends up embracing with a sense of irony and compassion.
Morrissey's band format of guitars, bass and drums has remained relatively true to form throughout his career, and this effort is no different. But instead of meandering down glam and rockabilly paths as he's done in the past, the singer has kept the band's arrangements crisp and concise, with just enough punch to keep his listeners on their guard. And by doing so, he's ultimately helped to put the focus back on his songs - which prove to be quite strong - instead of trying to buddy up to any specific style.
"How can anybody possibly think they know how I feel," he questions. And he's right; there are probably few who really do. But with a welcome, return-to-form album such as this, there will surely be many who know how he makes them feel. And, for most, that's all we really need to know.

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