"California Son" review by Laura Snapes (1 star, obvs) - The Guardian

Despite not being sent a copy to review, the Guardian has - of course! - reviewed the album anyway.

Morrissey: California Son review – clumsy covers with a troll-like spirit (1 of 5 stars) - The Guardian

In the words of Laura Snapes: "it is impossible to hear a number of the covers on California Son in anything but a chilling light."

And they're rather proud of this 1-star review, also mentioning it in their report of the Liverpool posters incident:


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Morrissey: California Son review – clumsy covers with a troll-like spirit

A week after Morrissey appeared on a late-night talk show wearing a badge in support of an anti-Islam, far-right minor political party (not to mention the preceding decade of contentious proclamations), it is impossible to hear a number of the covers on California Son in anything but a chilling light. Dylan’s Only a Pawn in Their Game, about the US government’s weaponising of poor white people in the civil rights movement, takes on a sinister tone. When Morrissey sings “You can do what’s right or you can do what you are told,” on Days of Decision, it resonates less as Phil Ochs’s original appeal to fairness than a slimy warning against falling in line with political correctness.

Quite why Morrissey has decided to record an album of protest-adjacent covers at this point in his career is unclear. It hardly chimes with his public persona (although he is a known fan of original purveyors such as Jobriath). Nor does it bring out any hitherto untapped range. He wheezes through Gary Puckett and the Union Gap’s Lady Willpower like an exhumed Tom Jones, and hearing him preening on Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow – given an arduously heavy makeover by his band – feels like a violation of Joni Mitchell’s mythically light original. There are vaguely intriguing gender wrinkles – he sings as the female protagonist of Melanie’s Some Say I Got the Devil, and pleads with Bill to get down on one knee on Laura Nyro’s Wedding Bell Blues – but such winking provocations are crushed by the troll-like spirit of the endeavour.

scumbags united.wouldnt wipe my arse with this rag.
I'm surprised it actually got so highly rated as 1 out of 5. I was expecting 0, or maybe even negative numbers.
lol you accuse everyone else of ignoring reviews contrary to their own views
It's no coincidence that all these 1 star reviews are conceived by pale ghastly looking malnourished creatures. Genderless in appearance with all the sex appeal of stale pork pie, with its innards gouged out. The kind of spiteful self-righteous introvert that you'd seeing loitering in a charity shop; unkempt with an odour of incense candles.
It is true though that the words to some of these songs come across differently when you hear them in light of Morrissey's comments over the past few years. But they take one line from the Phil Ochs song, “You can do what’s right or you can do what you are told,” and make quite a leap to interpret it as being "against political correctness." I'd see it more as being "against" what you're told by government and media. If you look at the song's original intent it's clearly "against" racism.
Now it's fair enough to interpret Morrissey's choices of covers politically as he has seemed to become more of a media figure known for his remarks than for his music over the past ten years or so. But it's not a record of political speeches and should probably be dealt with more as a collection of interpretations of songs. Many times songwriters will reveal a lot in the songs they choose to cover.
I think what might be more interesting than taking individual lines from the songs and trying to explain them according to various things Morrissey may have said is to just understand that a song can mean different things depending on context. Different people can sing the same song and give it a very different meaning. I'm not saying Morrissey's meaning is different than the original song but just that we can all relax a little bit and listen to the songs to see what you might get from it. Clearly the review wasn't going to be great and the Guardian seems to see their ability to give poor reviews when advance albums aren't provided as some kind of great power. When you go to their page to read the review they're begging for money so clearly they need Morrissey more than he needs them.
None of that matters. What I'm saying is that the fact that they could get that particular specific meaning from that carefully chosen line (when other lines make that reading very difficult to support) really just means that a song is alive and can change and be given new meanings over time. Anyone who thinks they have discovered "the meaning" of any of these songs is trying to contain something that will shift and evaporate.
If they want to talk about his politics and beliefs he's given them much more than they or anyone needed to work with over the past few years but to try to attach any of that to any of these songs in a definitive way doesn't make sense. When he sings these songs live they might not even "mean" exactly the same thing from night to night.
refused a preview copy....turns out they don't like it STOP PRESS
don't they have a 0/5 grading?
I'd like to think that they'd got the album from the download section here - where it's been available for 'review' since Monday ;)
This is the first ever Morrissey studio album I don't bother listening. Not going to take sides or dive in the childish shit that goes on this site...it has nothing to do with Morrissey's opinion on anything, or political stance, I just happen to agree with the starting words of this review - ''clumsy covers''....I get Morrissey willingly didn't choose hits or known songs but these are just boring, uninteresting songs to cover.
f***in pathetic innit, you gotta swallow Morrisseys dick to be accepted on this site. Full of absolute cry babies.
I wouldn't say that,iv got absolutely nothing against people having a go as long as its justified,i think a 1/10 review of a well received album is frankly taking the piss.
california son info california son review

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