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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Morrisey finds life anew after Years of Refusal

    As Morrissey approaches his 50th birthday this year, the former Smiths singer continues the momentum of his late-career comeback with Years of Refusal.

    Morrissey sounds like a man who has rediscovered his purpose in middle age. He trills, growls and brings out the falsetto notes, along with some operatic flourishes, throughout this album. On the cover, he stands in a stately pose with a hint of defiance in his upturned chin, as if to say he’s ready to take on anything life may throw at him. (The baby in Morrissey’s arms with the jewel butterfly on his or her forehead, however, is open to interpretation.)

    In contrast to the album’s title and cover, the songs are permeated with the theme of learning to accept one’s age with grace. Morrissey sings of painful mistakes, flawed relationships and complicated love with his characteristic emoting.

    The opener, “”Something Is Squeezing My Skull,”” sets the tone with its list of antidepressants and a sense of incompleteness. Morrissey rejects the drugs in order to peel away the sugarcoating that life has taken while under their influence.

    On the first single, “”I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris,”” Morrissey sounds resigned to his loveless fate: “”I’m throwing my arms around, around Paris because only stone and steel accept my love.””

    In songs such as “”It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore”” and “”Sorry Doesn’t Help,”” there is a brutal, bristling frankness in lines like, “”Did you really think we meant all of those syrupy, sentimental things that we said?”” and “”Sorry is just a word you find so easy to say – so you say it anyway.””

    With its midtempo guitars, throwback feel, and inflections of surf guitars and mariachi, the music can’t be called imaginative or innovative compared to the current pop-rock landscape. If anything, the driven guitars from co-writers and guitarists Jesse Tobias and Boz Boorer – a longtime collaborator with Morrissey – and workmanlike drums from Matt Walker, only further highlight the richness of Morrissey’s voice and words.

    He may have been living in denial all these years, but Morrissey sings of middle age with a defiant acceptance, resulting in some of his best work since 2004’s You Are The Quarry.

    Rating: ****

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