I feel sick.
I’ve just spent all day listening to the new Morrissey album. To call it eagerly awaited would be a gross understatement. This was supposed to be the album that I had waited for all my adult life. This was supposed to be the one that saved me. This was supposed to be the album that set me free, that made me cry “Jesus wept” from the very top of Twitter, the one that made me realise I’ve given Morrissey way too many chances and I’d finally be free from fat guitars, plodding drums and making excuses for his constant “eccentricity”. This album was supposed to be the one I threw in the bin and then I could grow up. This album was supposed to be shit.
But once again, Morrissey has let me down. And it starts so promisingly. World Peace Is None of Your Business is Morrissey’s best album since Your Arsenal but it’s also a completely godawful song. When it was released as a download single, I was overjoyed. It sounded like Morrissey had turned to me and said “You’re free to go”. Somehow, once again, a B-side from a band that should never exist had made it on to an actual Morrissey album. Well, I’ve stood by him through all five terrible photocopies of Vauxhall and I and clearly he didn’t want me anymore. I could run and frolic through pretty meadows for the rest of my life and leave Moz and his song to repeat themselves to death. Thank you. Then the second track on the album came along and I fell for him again. Just when I thought I was out, he pulls me back in.
The thing is, this sounds like Morrissey actually being creative again. Clearly that book did him the world of good. Maybe he read it and thought “Flip. This bloke sounds awful” and decided to be nothing like him? Or maybe he’s just great and, this time, he’s decided to show it.
The flamenco guitars on When Last I Spoke to Carol from his last album are back and, once again, they’re a highlight. Earth Is The Loneliest Planet is basically a depressing La Isla Bonita and I can think of nothing more joyous, while Kiss Me A Lot is proudly Glorious Esteban. Obviously there’s more than enough traditional Morrissey defiance for us long-termers, “I’d never kill or eat an animal. Well, what do you think I am? A man?”, but it’s the Spanish-styled songs that speed the album along with something close to being upbeat. Just to make things worse, Morrissey keeps the very best for last. Did any of us think he’d write something as good as Oboe Concerto again? Damn him. I’m lumped with him again.
Luckily there are a couple of glimpses of a time when I can move on. The title track and Istanbul are both terrible and Kick The Bride Down The Aisle won’t be making it on to any of Bridget Christie’s compilation tapes any time soon but other than that it’s an incredible piece of work that ensures further arrested development for me for years to come. Will he ever let me grow up? Thank God I have George Lucas and Steven Moffat doing their best for me.