Sunday, August 21, 2011

Morrissey's Years of Refusal

What more can really be said about Morrissey at this point in his career? He's a legendary pop phenomenon that's been everywhere and back in his 20 plus years in the music industry. Whether it be the Smiths or his solo albums, the guy has been part of some of the greatest songs the alternative/indie music world has ever heard and he's still going strong. That's all you really need to know about Morrissey. Well that and the fact that he's just released his latest album Years of Refusal.

Years of Refusal almost seems an appropriate title for his ninth solo studio record. For a guy who turns 50 this year, he's clearly someone who refuses to throw in the towel and rest on his laurels. Oh no, this is an album that in a sense completes the "comeback," he started back two albums ago and sees Morrissey still being the rambunctious rabble rouser of a singer he has always been. It's the sound of a man comfortable in his skin and his place in the world (Paris this time around) but also the sound of an artist who still has oodles of songs to share with his audience.

Years of Refusal is a full, thick, and well rounded record that's sweeping and at times almost mean sounding. In fact, there are moments on this album, where Morrissey almost doesn't sound like the old Morrissey we've known and loved forever. "Something Squeezing My Skull," for example is an aggressive rocker that has this different feel with Morrissey's voice sounding deeper and more upfront than ever before. As the album moves on though, that legendary set of pipes makes it's presence known and the songs begin to sound majestic and proper in the only they could be with a guy like Morrissey. "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris," is a huge heartbreaker of a song that's orchestral, sweeping, and emotional in all the best ways.

In listening to Years of Refusal it's really hard to believe that Morrissey is going to be 50. His sound and voice has only become more self assured and brilliant as the years have gone on and it's nice to know that he can still make important music that needs to be heard. While there's nothing massively surprising here, Years of Refusal is a brilliant British Pop album that only furthers the legend of its creator and shows that he's still got it. Highly recommended.

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