International tensions are increasing, conflict has provoked much political debate, and what’s more, the UK’s general election is fast approaching. It is the time for celebrity cynics and anarchists to force their views upon us, increase their tabloid exposure, and make some money. Unsurprisingly, Morrissey has released a new album.
While the opening lyric, ‘World Peace is None of Your Business’, does not provide the brightest backdrop for a 6:30am work commute, it is perhaps the catchiest phrase since ‘We are the Cheeky Girls’, and is equally inappropriate to be found singing unwittingly on public transport. As expected, Morrissey’s lyrics are satirical, and his dry sense of humour is evoked perfectly through frequent stabs at the working British public: ‘Work Hard, and sweetly pay your taxes, Never asking what for, Oh you – you poor little fool.’
After the ending of The Smiths, Morrissey’s songs have felt deflated in terms of instrumental innovation with karaoke-like backing tracks largely prominent in the new album. While Morrissey’s voice is strong, it lies over cheap keys and questionable samples; the use of a woman’s prolonged scream in ‘Neal Cassady Drops Dead’ feels awkward and somewhat disturbing and the song finishes with an uninspiring sixty-second drawl of ‘da-da-de-dum-dums’. Nevertheless, guitarists Boz Boorer and Jesse Tobias roam free with frequent improvisation, providing contrast to the dark shawl that casts a gloomy shadow over the rest of the album.
Overall, ‘World Peace’ is not the best welcome gift to anyone finding Morrissey for the first time. He has well and truly asserted himself as the grumpy old man of the music industry, and unless you want to crawl into a hovel of self pity and despair, you’d be better off looking for the dandelion swinging, quiff sporting, delightfully charming man of The Smiths in the 1980s.