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Morrissey: You Are The QuarryYou Are The Quarry (2004)
Reviewer Rating: 2
Contributed by: Toby_at_FatToby_at_Fat
(others by this writer | submit your own)
Oh fuck it, man. Track 7 of You Are The Quarry is entitled “The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores”, and I gotta tell ya Steven Patrick Morrissey, these twelve songs ain’t exactly doing a lot to rectify your social commentary. Although I’d score the Moz a well-deserved 10 outta 10 for his career, I’m being awfully merciful by giving him two stars for this LP which is largely made up of forgettable filler. The only thing especially profound about this release is how disappointing it is. So there ya have it punknews readers…Oh sure, I plan to embark on some long-winded diatribe offering further explanation, but I’m giving y’all the opportunity to get while the getting’s good.
First off, I feel that it’s important to establish why a Morrissey review is even appropriate for a punk rock webzine, and I would argue that the relevance of the The Smiths and Morrissey is fairly apparent in almost all of today’s indie-punk scene. Take Alkaline Trio, Smoking Popes, and although I’ve never heard any music from Brand New, all reports lead me to believe them to be a Morrissey tribute band, right down to the singer’s dreary affectations. And of course Morrissey himself grew up in the UK during the ’77 punk boom and was quite a fan. He even tried out for Slaughter and the Dogs. Having explained that, let’s get back to why this record sucks.
Of the myriad reasons, I reckon I’ll start with the production; and on this latest Morrissey album we have Jerry Finn behind the knobs. He’s probably best known for making Blink 182 sound listenable, but Finn can actually boast production credits on some of neo-punk’s finest records: Rancid’s …And Out Come The Wolves, Jawbreaker’s Dear You, Green Day’s Insomniac, Smoking Popes’ Destination Failure, Alkaline Trio’s From Here To Infirmary, etc; but in my opinion his skills were most evident on Blink 182’s Enema Of The State and MxPx’s The Ever Passing Moment. Those two albums bear the signature Jerry Finn sound: big and bright. Exceptionally big and bright. But alas, it would seem that ol’ Jerry took a wrong turn somewhere around Fenix TX because his records as of late haven’t been quite as magical; and You Are The Quarry is another clunker. Oh you can’t possibly blame him entirely, but Morrissey’s past works employ entire string sections, extensive instrumentation, and many-layered vocals that rival those pussies in Chanticleer. Although the guitar and drums sound adequate, Finn is out of his element here, and he does little to aid the banal melodies that Morrissey dragged into the studio.
That brings me my next grievance: the songs are just plain shitty. The opener is a solid starter, the second song (the album’s single) is okay, but things don’t pick up again until track 8, “First Of The Gang To Die”, which is such a great song that it’s almost startling. I remember seeing him perform this song on the Late Late Show two years ago, and I remember how much I looked forward to hearing more of his new material. Well from now on I’m watching Conan, because I was had, hoodwinked, and bamboozled. “First Of The Gang” is upbeat, catchy, and everything just clicks—so much that it’s reminiscent of the material on the rockin’ (and totally brilliant) Your Arsenal. A few songs later you’ll run into the tolerable track 11, “I Like You”, which is fine if you can get over the disco beat. That brings me to another huge beef I have with the sound of this record. In prior outings, Morrissey is backed by a proficient rock band that sounds genuine and lends a very organic rock-n-roll aesthetic to what would be a gutless adult contemporary sound. Not here however—and despite the fact that Alain Whyte, Boz Boorer, and Gary Day remain involved—the band sounds more like they are making music for Kylie Minogue and later added a Y-chromosome. I can’t help but think that much of this record was influenced by target marketing, and I can guaran-goddamm-tee you that these songs will be a hit on the dance charts or whatever the fuck they do in London.
Wrapping up (I know I know, Tolstoy could’ve written a shorter review), I feel that it’s important to address the fact that this album just smacks of shameless commercialism. In an effort to sell more copies they made three different versions of the damn thing: one in a digi-pac, one in a jewel case, and one comes packaged with a DVD. And ya know what, considering that they went to the trouble to make three different versions of this record, you’d think they could AT LEAST MAKE ONE VERSION THAT HAD DECENT SONGS! One of the most maddening aspects of these slutty music industry tactics is that the people who get ripped off (i.e. the ones who actually buy all the different versions) are the people who are the strongest supporters. A fine way to treat your fans. And it’s ironic that this album be called You Are The Quarry, because that’s exactly what I feel like: as though I’m being mined for my dollars. Well I’ll conclude my whining with this bit of advice, shoplifters of the world should unite and steal this turd ‘cuz it would be a waste of a burnable disc. I’ll admit that I like the cover art and that there’s one good song on here, but I would have to recommend stronger Morrissey records such as Viva Hate, Bona Drag, Your Arsenal, and even Vauxhall and I. Besides, there’s a new band for all you despondent metrosexuals out there, and they’re called Communique. Their new record Poison Arrows is terrific and it will fill your void for the Smiths as well as fill your cryin’ eyes with tears. Or, uhhh, whatever it is you silly Morrissey fans do…
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