Lyrically, he's basically a one-trick pony. When the inspiration came from his experiences as a stick-thin layabout in Manchester, it was new and interesting. The problem now, almost 50 years later, is that there's never been a real or convincing shift away from that first-person reflection. Who really cares what a pumped-up bore from LA really thinks about anything anymore?
But that's just it—I don't think he is a bore. Many on here seem to revile him for becoming one-dimensional: all bitterness and spite, with nothing as leaven. Some even say he is deranged. These things might be true. But because he is Morrissey
, it's fascinating. It's very possible that Morrissey has entered a dark phase (1/3rd Syd Barrett, 1/3rd Howard Hughes, and one-third Bobby Fischer), where he believes way too much of his own legend, is surrounded by dull sycophants, and is guided almost entirely by his passions. I get the impression he drinks more than he reads.
And speaking of tippling, and Beats, I'm curious to hear Kerouac's Crack
, because Morrissey's late period is eerily not unlike Kerouac's, particularly insofar as certain people see him as turning against what they thought he had once stood for. Kerouac was considered a traitor to the Beat spirit because he despised the hippie movement, and Morrissey is seen by some as "the Oswald Mosley of pop" because he has not cottoned to wokeness and lashes out on delicate subjects. Kerouac liked Wm. F. Buckley, and Morrissey likes Anne Marie Waters. One possible difference here, though, is that Kerouac returned to the Roman Catholicism of his youth, whereas we have yet to hear Saint In A Stained Glass Window
to see if Morrissey is headed in that direction.
What I think is valuable about this period of Morrissey's career, even if he has lost his talent for the witty Wildean touch, is that this recalcitrant phase is so timely. It is exactly the thing needed as love is on its way out
for good and the world slouches toward its doom. If the lyrics to the new songs are considered too simplistic, for me they are nevertheless pitch-perfect, with their themes of sad nostalgia, end-of-life indignities, and moronic masses singing and swaying for the gooey goo-goo of love, peace, & harmony, while the children of this generation are fated to live in a literal and figurative inferno before "the earth, and the sea, and time shall be no longer, and the mystery of God shall be finished
." Even in insanity, and even with his lyrical gifts in decline, Morrissey is ever perceptive.