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MORRISSEY - You Are The Quarry   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Thursday, 20 May 2004

Manchesters Finest?



It's not, by any means his best record, and it's surely not worth the seven year wait, but he's still got it. "Irish Blood, English Heart", his biggest solo single, is also his best song in 10 years. Other songs - "The First Of The Gang To Die", "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" - are also as good as anything he has from is poison pen  

But compared to the newer, vibrant upstarts such as Franz Ferdinand, and it's clear Morrissey is an old man playing a young man's game. And this is no disrespect to him : after all, he has been in exile a while now, and, in a state where royalties buy you luxury (as he arrogantly points out on one of the songs) he has less to rage about than ever before. Lyrically, the album is slight in far too many places, and musically, lacking in the assured power and his previous solo works. Morrissey no longer sounds like he needs to do this, but as if he's doing it because he doesn't quite know what else to do.

 In short, Morrissey sounds less than excited. As if he's seen and heard it all before. He knows where he came from, but he doesn't know where he's going, or quite where he belongs.   

It's hard to say that these songs are written out of habit, but some of them sound as if they are. But it's also hard to see what exactly Morrissey's point still is. As ever, he is the ultimate narcisscist : caught between self-loathing and self-obsession, and turning the spotlight upon himself. Every song on the album is about himself, almost to the exception of the rest of the world.

 Which is a shame, because I love Morrissey. He's got a glorious past behind him, and some of the best songs ever written have come forth from his pursed lips. But these are not the highpoints of a life made of high points. By most people's standards these songs are fabulous, but when you set the bar that high, sometimes the best isn't good enough. Bring You Are The Quarry against his back catalogue and its no longer the glorious return to form that people will have you believe.  

The problem with You Are The Quarry is that it's Just Another Morrissey album. And it's five years too late. Sure, it keeps up the fine lineage of his previous albums, but it really isn't worth the seven year wait. These can't be the best songs Morrissey has written in the past seven years, can they? 

It almost acts as a primer for the crushing disappointment that will be Guns N Roses Chinese Democracy, 13 long years in the making, should that ever be released to. Disappointed. Good night and thank you. 


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