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Morrissey's latest is
hard to refuse

Morrissey - Years of Refusal
(Lost Highway Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Mar. 10, 2009

Review by Tony Bonyata

22 years and nine solo albums after the break-up of his influential band The Smiths, Morrissey is not only still at it, but, with his wit, humor and self-loathing all fully intact, the 49 year-old singer is also, surprisingly, at the top of his game.

That's not to say his latest release, Years Of Refusal, is Moz's strongest effort to date, but it is a fine continuation of the return-to-form records he's been producing over the last five years (starting with 2004's You Are The Quarry and Ringleader of the Tormentors, which managed to top the British charts two years later).

Originally slated to have Tony Visconti produce the record (producer of not only Morrissey's Ringleaders of the Tormentors but also much of T. Rex and David Bowie's '70s masterpieces) the singer instead opted to once again work with Jerry Finn, who previously produced You Are The Quarry. But production values aside, one of the highlights on this effort is the muscular make-up of the band. The punchy rhythms and attacking guitars are taut and sinewy, and work in an odd, yet perfect juxtaposition to Morrissey's deadpan delivery of lines dealing with doctors over-prescribing medications ("Diazepam...Valium... Temazepam... Lithium. How long must I stay on this stuff? Oh, something is squeezing my skull") and failed relationships ("I'm throwing my arms around Paris, because only stone and steel accept my love... nobody wants my love"). Likewise on his song "That's How People Grow Up," where he croons, "I was wasting my time waiting for love. For the love that never comesÉ from someone who does not exist."

Ironically, however, Morrissey knows very well that after years of delivering tongue-in-cheek sonnets of doomed love, alienation and despair, that when he sings, "nobody wants my love," that, in fact, everyone - at least those who are already fans - will adore him all the more. And with the third in a trilogy of stout, quintessential Morrissey albums, the adulation is in full order.

Related articles:

Morrissey Concert review - Merriville, IN - Oct. 2007
Morrissey Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - May 2007
SxSW Festival review - Austin, TX - Mar. 2006
Morrissey Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Oct. 2004
The Smiths - The Sound of The Smiths - Album review
Morrissey - You are the Quarry - Album review
Morrissey - Maladjusted - Album review

Watch Morrissey Perform
"Something is Squeezing My Skull" on Jimmy Kimmel Live

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