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The land of Moz

And Morrisseys first album in seven years is

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Morrisseys back.
  • Morrisseys back.

Morrissey

Morrissey, you are the Quarry
Attack Records

An illustrative anecdote: When Morrissey came through Colorado Springs two years ago, the band he had chosen as his opening act was quite possibly the most atrocious band I've ever seen: King Cheetah.

So painfully god-awful was the spandex glam punk of King Cheetah, I was certain Morrissey had finally suffered the final decrepitude of judgment that would lead him toward the cornice of an inevitable pop oblivion.

"Oh, he likes to have really crappy bands open for him so he sounds better," a friend speculated.

Ding, ding, ding. When Morrissey took the stage an hour later, the gestalt lent him a halo of charm and wit that emanated from his thin, graying pompadour as he launched, paunchily, into the back pages of his catalog. Thing was -- though he was still, undeniably, the Duke of Despond -- his backing band also kinda sucked. No, really sucked. They were like ... no, they were like Matchbox 20 backing James Brown!

Star date: May 18, 2004, seven years after the release of his last studio album, Maladjusted. I meat-fistedly clutch the slick, shiny pink packaging that bears Morrissey's old-school gangsta mug. This is it -- the long-awaited Morrissey, you are the Quarry! Tommy gun in hand, the Hessian of Depression appears to be giddily taking pot shots at unseen sucka MCs and critics alike. "Please don't try to fade this," he seems to ber-confidently mutter.

Purchase, leave store, greedily peel plastic, greedily fish CD from cardboard sleeve, insert into CD player in automotive vehicle, pull out onto Platte Avenue heading west, and ... Just as the unfathomably craptacular break beat (yes, break beat) intro to "America Is Not The World" begins to hurt my one feeling, my 3-and-1/2-year-old son thankfully insists my wife and I pause the music and sing him a stirring rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

OK, so I'm older than I was when I first asked myself, Why, oh why is Wilde on his side? And older, too, is Morrissey. Perhaps he shouldn't be messing around with a teeny-terrible producer like Jerry Finn (AFI, Green Day, Blink-182) anymore than I, at 31, should be so breathlessly anticipating his return. Alas for the dupes for youthful folly.

So, after a few rounds of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," it's back to the record. And yes, my worst fears are confirmed: the overproduced "music" on Morrissey, you are the Quarry is truly embarrassing. Instant caveat: Morrissey's gorgeously mature voice and acerbic casual lyrics all but entirely redeem every single pathetic note. I love it.

"You have never been in love/ until you've seen the stars/ reflect in the reservoirs/ and you have never been in love/ until you've seen the sun rise/ behind the Home for the Blind," he croons deliriously on "First of the Gang to Die" a tip of his hat to the Latino gang-bangers known to shed many a tattooed tear for Moz's malingering. The excuse music dies behind Morrissey's lyrics and post-Sinatra magnanimity. He has become some sick god of pop lyrics who deigned to embrace the worst music ever simply for the sake of destroying it (so help me hyperbole)!

Or maybe I'm just a desperate fan.

Still, too bad he didn't just make the album with Randy Newman or, better yet, the Neptunes!

-- Noel Black

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