We get the artists that we deserve.
I happen to love Morrissey and his new album. However, even if you don't, you should be able to acknowledge that it is the work of someone unique that has something to say. (You can say that you don't agree with him, or that he says things clumsily, but if you say that his music is banal pop music with no point of view you are just f***ing lying.)
I played the new album for a musician friend, someone that not familiar with his work beyond How Soon is Now? and they were blown away by the production of Low in High School. As a musician myself, I am in awe of the music alone. Everyone in his band right now plays really smart parts. Gustavo alone is an incredible multi-instrumentalist that seems not only classically trained, but is also someone that really understands sound in general. He is always doing something highly emotional and/or sonically interesting. You can put this album on next to a hip hop record and it holds its own sonically, while still feeling very warm and live. This is not the work of amateurs.
Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and on and on. When we lose artists like this it is not only sad, because we are losing artists that constantly challenge us, but because are culture is not replacing them. I keep abreast of all the latest records and it is so rare that I find something new that is both musically creative and lyrically unique. I understand why some people don't like Morrissey's new record in the same way I understand many people didn't like Lou Reed's Lulu. Both are the work of artists who are acquired tastes.
Morrissey, like Reed, has never ever compromised his vision. One could argue with things like Lou Reed's Honda Scooter ad, that Morrissey is even more uncompromising than Reed, though I think Reed made work at times that is even more of an acquired taste than Morrissey. (Metal Machine Music, The Raven, and of course Lulu.)
So lets say you are someone that is not into what Morrissey is currently doing. Would you truly rather not have him make anymore records? How many artists in the rock world have the carte blanche to make expensive records with no market concerns? How many of these artists are making something that you can actually sing along to, that make deeply emotional records that also are full of big ideas? As great as someone like Radiohead may be, their records are somewhat cryptic and I find their music more interesting in an intellectual way. Morrissey is a rare artist that is intellectual, but also someone that still cares about making something in the pop sense, with big vocal hooks, with ideas and emotion out front. I think we're lucky to have him and I think even some of his detractors will miss him when gone.
I don't know when performers had to start towing a very specific political line. Remember when the Dixie Chicks were crucified over just having said something negative regarding Bush? How many of us laughed at the rubes who smashed their records, records which were not very subversive to begin with. Now because Morrissey has done something that makes those on the left the slightest bit uncomfortable, we're ready to cast him out? (And I would argue that Morrissey has never really changed. He still is someone that gives a voice to outsiders. He is politically light years from Trump and the alt-right.)
I remember when I read about the song Israel. I have long been against the occupation. Was someone that has meant so much to me taking a political stance that I couldn't stand by. (I don't believe the song, especially in the context of the record, is a blanket endorsement of the Israel government's occupation in the slightest. But that is a topic for another day.) However, I read the Morrissey where he said something along the lines of, people shouldn't be judged by their governments. He said the U.S. and England shouldn't. And truth be told he is right. Just because their government is doing things I don't like, I realized with a clarity I hadn't had before that the people of Israel are probably as varied politically as all other nations. When is the last time you bought a record and it made you think more clearly about something? Even if you don't agree with Morrissey, you have to think in order to to say why he is wrong. That's what art is about!!! It's about making you think and feel strongly, and not always about what you want to be thinking or feeling at a certain time. f***, we're so lucky to have him or any artist that can do that!
Artists aren't running our governments or schools. They have a different standard. They are provocateurs and philosophers at their best. If they make us think, question, and feel they have more than done their job. I'm glad someone like Morrissey is #1 in anything. I wish the pop charts were filled with people like him, instead of songs that sound like they should be played in the back of commercials. You can run him out of town if you like, but we're all so much poorer for it if so. I say thank god he is out there, a strange mutant, running amuck...