Punknews.org
Morrissey - Years of Refusal (Cover Artwork)

Morrissey

Morrissey: Years of RefusalYears of Refusal (2009)
Attack / Lost Highway

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Years of Refusal, the title of Morrissey's latest release, could easily describe my feelings for the guy's entire solo career. While I'm a Smiths fan through and through ("I Know It's Over" is the saddest, bitterest song ever. This is not a debate), it's always irked me that Moz basically shit-canne.
iTunes StoreAmazon


Years of Refusal, the title of Morrissey's latest release, could easily describe my feelings for the guy's entire solo career. While I'm a Smiths fan through and through ("I Know It's Over" is the saddest, bitterest song ever. This is not a debate), it's always irked me that Moz basically shit-canned his Smiths songwriting partner Johnny Marr only to keep writing Johnny Marr-esque songs, all jangly and sarcastic and blissfully theatrical and what-not. So it's fitting for me that the album should open with "Something Is Squeezing My Skull," a rollicking rocker about tripping balls. The first verse feels like Morrissey specifically telling me (and maybe you) to get bent: "I'm doing very well / I can block out the present and the past now / I know by now you think I should have straightened / myself out / thank you, drop dead." It's with these lines, and the remaining 42 minutes and 49 seconds of music after them, that Steven Patrick Morrissey proves, with or without the Smiths, he's still a vital force of sardonic wit and rocking tuneage. Besides, if new songs like "You Were Good in Your Time" and "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" are any indication, dude will always be better at hating himself than I ever could be.

Years of Refusal finds ol' Mozzy Bear re-teaming with the recently deceased producer Jerry Finn, who provided the similarly slick power behind Morrissey's 2004 comeback album, You Are the Quarry (other credits include Green Day's Dookie, Rancid's ‚?¶And Out Come the Wolves and Jawbreaker's Dear You!). As one of Finn's final projects, it's a great album to go out on. As for Morrissey, it feels like the real comeback album fans have been waiting for. Quarry had a handful of fast/pounding/biting numbers like "Irish Blood, English Heart." Well, imagine if every song on Quarry was that catchy and kick-ass. Years of Refusal is that album, aside from the string-laden "You Were Good in Your Time." It's like a glam rock Smiths love-in, and it's awesome.

The record opens with the previously mentioned "Something is Squeezing My Skull," and it's clear right away the Morrissey really is "doing very well" with his gang of youngsters, drummer Matt Walker, bassist Solomon Walker and guitarists Boz Boorer and Jesse Tobias. Boorer and Tobias share co-songwriting credits with Morrissey on several tracks, and thanks is due to them for keeping everything from getting too maudlin or syrupy. Morrissey is famously a New York Dolls fan; this album confirms that fandom. The guitars are constantly thrashing, and Matt Walker infects everything with a nervous energy. Solomon, meanwhile, has an endlessly deep, grungy bass to lay down for any situation, as is revealed time and again on Years of Refusal.

"Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed" briefly recalls the Smiths, if only for that Strangeways, Here We Come-style piano. That's not a complaint, just an observation. It's still just as riveting, as are "All You Need Is Me," "I'm OK by Myself" and "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore." That last one might just be the highlight of the record. It starts out subdued, with the drum beat slowly fading in, until Morrissey hits the chorus, at which point Matt lets loose a buildup barrage on his kit. Moz takes an unspoken party to task for trying to bask a little too long in the limelight ("There's no need to be kind to you / And the will to see you smile and belong has now gone"). Besides, "all of the gifts that they gave can't compare in any way / to the love I am now giving to you right here, right now." It all careens towards a final exhalation of that old pop-punk standard, the "whoa." Morrissey really belts it out over cut-time drums and a meandering keyboard line by Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. This is what scientists and lovers call "the good part."

And Years of Refusal has plenty of other ones: the punter "hey"s of "Something Is Squeezing My Skull"; the distorted freak-out of "I'm OK by Myself"; pretty much any time Solomon gets to hold down the rhythm. Maybe it's best to let the Marr years be what they are; Morrissey's doing A-OK with Years of Refusal.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyOperation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Alkaline Trio - GoddamnitDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseJawbreaker - Dear YouThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsNOFX - Punk In DrublicThe Clash - London Calling

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
gunsontheroof (October 6, 2011)

The Smiths disbanded when Marr quit. He wasn't shit-canned.

scruffy (May 5, 2009)

"I don't like it when music is obviously TRYING to be sad. That's what I've always thought of The Smiths and Morissey."

You've never heard "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" I take it?

heartbeat33 (March 19, 2009)

The writer or this article obviously has no idea about Morrissey or the writers that work with him. After mentioning all of the Alain Whyte's songs he failed to mention his name of the fact that he wrote them. It would be nice if someone actually did some research before writing a review.

R3vengeTherapy (March 17, 2009)

I don't like it when music is obviously TRYING to be sad. That's what I've always thought of The Smiths and Morrissey.

hahaha. You don't like it when it's trying to be sad? How do you accidentally write a sad song? You know nothing about how the song was written or why, and you don't care, so just stop typing.

There's a lot more to The Smiths and Morrissey than "sad songs," yet so many people open their mouths and look like morons.

NewKid (March 16, 2009)

Definately one of my favorite releases thus far. Jerry Finn's production fit's Morrisey's sound perfectly for this album.

Eric

Dante3000 (March 16, 2009)

And why the fuck is Morrissey crotch palming that baby? He either needs to get some parenting classes or go to jail.
-Dante

Dante3000 (March 16, 2009)

Anyone look at that baby's tits? That's some NSFW shit.
Those bad boys are epic.
-Dante

elliot (March 16, 2009)

‚??(I Know It‚??s Over‚?Ě is the saddest, bitterest song ever. This is not a debate)"

Please. Don't tell me what the saddest song ever is, especially when it's a snoozefest like that one. Do you have any idea how much credibility you lose when you make a statement like this?

I don't like it when music is obviously TRYING to be sad. That's what I've always thought of The Smiths and Morissey.

Dante3000 (March 16, 2009)

Hey Dante, hyperbole > 8989765976587658508 word essays as to why Amanda Palmer deserves a 7/10.
One day you'll learn to read and you'll be totally stoked.

mfohio (March 16, 2009)

As long of Morrissey's ego is bigger than his perceived success, he will continue to poison our unsuspecting youth! Lets take a stand and quit enabling this egomaniac.

R3vengeTherapy (March 16, 2009)

I'll chime in with the rest of the smart people who think this album is fucking excellent. Best record he's done since Vauxhall and I. So, so good.

Also, The Smiths might be the greatest band of all time in case you were wondering. I think the saddest Smiths song is "Asleep", but to each his own.

mattramone (March 15, 2009)

This is a classic Moz album, up there with Arsenal, Viva Hate, and Vauxhall.

leecorsoisapenis (March 14, 2009)

Padrino, I agree. I thought the same about the last couple Morrissey albums too. "Irish Blood, English Heart" sounds like a song Dan would have written and sang when he still knew how to write a good song. I thought the same about "Something is Squeezing my Skull."

"One of the most consistently over-rated acts ever."

If you're talking about The Smiths, you are a fucking moron. Go back to listening to AFI. If you're talking about Morrissey, you are still wrong. You should be playing in traffic.

"I Know It's Over" is the best Smiths song EVER.

Archangel (March 14, 2009)

Great album... somewhat odd review.

padrino333 (March 14, 2009)

Does anyone else think "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" sound like something you'd hear on an Alkaline Trio album?

Everything about this song reminds me of the Alk Trio. The lyrics. The music. Everything.

alpod4 (March 14, 2009)

morrissey fuckin rules

fixedfrequencies (March 13, 2009)

By far my favorites solo Morrissey album.

mikexdude (March 13, 2009)

Hey Dante, hyperbole > 8989765976587658508 word essays as to why Amanda Palmer deserves a 7/10.

scorpiondeathlock (March 13, 2009)

score is for how much for the note Morrissey left on Andy Rourke's car when he kicked him out of The Smiths.

"Andy - you have left The Smiths. Goodbye and good luck, Morrissey."

fucking epic.

chrisafi (March 13, 2009)

One of the most consistently over-rated acts ever.

Redscare (March 13, 2009)

A 9, really? Haven't really heard it, but everyone I know that has the record ranks it just above maladjusted.

Deadpan (March 13, 2009)

Morrissey without Marr, to me, is kind of like bread without jam. Alright like, but not something you want much of either way.

Basically, I don't really like Morrissey much as a solo artist. And the last album was fucking terrible as well.

holy_hack_ben (March 13, 2009)

"i'd be depressed like morrissey and slayed by buffy every week. I would do anything for you." Man, Nerf Herder rules.

ghpunkguy (March 13, 2009)

As the legendary Tesco Vee said... "Morrissey must die!"

DrGunn (March 13, 2009)

i normally would have bought this the day it came out, but i've had no way to listen to music for the last month. i'm hoping that when i finally do, this will be better than ringleader (which was solid, but disappointing after the great comeback of you are the quarry).

Dante3000 (March 13, 2009)

Punknews reviews and hyperbole, 3/3 thus far.
-Dante

cr0mwell (March 13, 2009)

Mozzy Bear??

didnt know there we're Morrisey inside jokes.. wtf

miniblindbandit (March 13, 2009)

good stuff. that cover still cracks me up.

Ike_Ness (March 13, 2009)

Great album. His last 3 have been killer.

preston (March 13, 2009)

Yeah, this is good. Maybe the best of his 3 latest.

TheMike (March 13, 2009)

Look it up. The answer is yes.

Torgo (March 13, 2009)

Is bitterest a word?

hellxblazer (March 13, 2009)

I'd rather just listen to Brand New.

TheMike (March 13, 2009)

Good album. A big improvement over Ringleader of the Tormentors. "When Last I Spoke To Carol" and "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" are my favourites.

fallingupwards84 (March 13, 2009)

‚??I Know It‚??s Over‚?Ě is the saddest, bitterest song ever. This is not a debate

lol, gimme a break

red_eye_inc (March 13, 2009)

I am into this album

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


The Fest 13

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go