Words About Music
Morrissey “World Peace Is None of Your Business”
You may have heard of a small-time singer called Morrissey. He’s a bit under the radar, but maybe a bit of info will jog your memory. The guy that’s cancelled/postponed like four tours over the past few years due to strangely dis- and reappearing illness. He sang with a little band called The Smiths for a few years in the 80s. He’s a fervent vegetarian that likens eating meat to being a pedophile or a terrorist. He’s basically one of the most hated musicians in history which is usually only salvaged by the fact that The Smiths are one of the best bands of all time. Ringing any bells? Okay. Well, “World Peace Is None of Your Business” is the title of Morrissey’s 10th solo album, one that was hotly anticipated in the midst of more recent Morrissey controversies. These are the songs he would’ve played live if he’d ever gotten around to actually touring. Surprisingly enough, some of them aren’t bad.
“World Peace…” is an album that pretty much works as a half-assed Morrissey mission statement. He throws in a line about how he doesn’t eat animals, something about the government, something about gender roles; pretty much every rant you’ve ever heard from Morrissey is sort of condensed and set to music here. Though I must admit, his real rants are much more interesting. Don’t get me wrong, there are some songs on here that are surprisingly good. The first couple songs are strong enough that they make me feel like the rest of the album could be equally strong. Unfortunately that is not the case. Around the halfway point, the album sort of fizzles into a series of tracks that are both too long and not eventful nor witty enough. Moz is responsible for some of the most well-written songs of the 80s. The man who was once the Pope of Mope is now the Prince of Wince.
I think the main issue is that I’ve grown so accustomed to enjoying Morrissey in tandem with Johnny Marr’s arpeggiated guitars and proto-shoegaze effects. The instrumentation on this album is all over the place, sometimes trying to sound like a flamenco jam and other times trying to sound like The White Stripes. It’s weird. “World Peace…” doesn’t know what it wants to be. I don’t even think Morrissey knows what he wants the album to be, apart from a soapbox for him to wax pretentious. And I think that’s the most important thing. The lyrical content of most Smiths songs never led me to believe that Morrissey took himself too easily. In fact, I always felt quite the opposite. In his curmudgeonly old age, though, it seems like Morrissey is saying “what I’m saying is objectively right! Listen to me!”
I have no problem with musicians trying to make some sort of political or moral statement. It just helps when that statement is clear. Morrissey rarely tries to clarify just exactly what he’s trying to say. At its best, some of these songs are really catchy and well performed. At its worst, they’re both boringly produced and boringly scripted. I may not be entirely familiar with Morrissey’s solo discography, but I’m willing to bet that most of his albums are about as good as this one. It’s a good thing we’re in a period of renewed Morrissey news demand, because otherwise I’m sure this one would’ve come and gone without much word from anyone. Now we just wait until NME calls it the best album of the year.
SCORE – 3.9
FAVORITE TRACKS – World Peace Is None of Your Business, Neal Cassady Drops Dead, I’m Not a Man, Oboe Concerto