"This once charming man" - Birmingham review by Kitty Empire - The Observer (UK)

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Anonymous

Guest
I don’t see all that much decline. He still charts and is selling out large arenas and until this changes I can’t see him changing course all that much. He’s 58 and is probably mostly concerned with saying what he wants and playing the songs he wants to before he dies. The fact that he’s doing this at 58 and is still selling this well is a sign that he’s just fine and that it’s only a faction of fans upset. I also believe this faction is a lot smaller than they believe themselves to be
 

Uncleskinny

It's all good
Subscriber
I don’t see all that much decline. He still charts and is selling out large arenas and until this changes I can’t see him changing course all that much. He’s 58 and is probably mostly concerned with saying what he wants and playing the songs he wants to before he dies. The fact that he’s doing this at 58 and is still selling this well is a sign that he’s just fine and that it’s only a faction of fans upset. I also believe this faction is a lot smaller than they believe themselves to be
Charts? Where?
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
Israel is a lovely piece of music ruined by some (not all) very stupid lyrics. In Your Lap is a cracking piano composition, again with the same (but not quite as bad) lyrical problem.
Bury the Living is a really interesting composition musically. The music in the outro/coda has received a lot of praise which I agree with, but the rest of it's pretty good too - it's just some of the lyrics that almost render the song unlistenable. Open Your Legs is extremely catchy and a very nicely arranged composition - love the strings. But the words are awful. Wish You Lonely is an unusual and powerful piece of (almost) disco pop but again rendered unenjoyable by clumsy/duff lyrics. Home is a QM - another rousing piece of music, with lyrics that are either foolish, meaningless or cringey. As noted elsewhere, the ending is indeed a bit like Lost but whereas with Lost we had the wistful lyrical beauty of 'Don't make fun of me later - I'm just lost', with Home we get the cringey, 'Wrap your legs around my face' - yuk. Enough examples for now?!
Ah, but what you have there is your own subjective opinion, which I don't happen to agree with. Let's just run through those again from my perspective... Israel, which so many have got their knickers in a knot about, is nothing to do with middle east politics but is everything to do with its gay friendly attitude and how our favourite humasexual feels accepted there after all the years of Catholic guilt - rather moving and definitely one of his better efforts. Although, yes, sweeping aside the political hot potato with a simple 'I can't answer for what armies do' is a bit crap, I admit.
In Your Lap, which as you say, is a lovely composition has some definite lyrical clunkers (eg 'they love to kill and they just love to harm') but it also has the beautifully poetic:
I rescued you in so many ways
You're good for a laugh, that's all you can say
Summer is winter, and winter prevails
And I'm so tired of counting the days
I am so tired of counting the days

I Bury the Living is a Grade A clunker: musically it's so ugly it's virtually unlistenable, lyrically it's an embarrassment. Likewise the Shitty Awful Police Song. When You Open Your Legs: suffers from his continued, baffling obsession with flamenco (but I grant you the words aren't great either). Home: cannot understand the enthusiasm for this, it's a massively dreary dirge (likewise I Wish You Lonely). Spent: Decent pop tune with not bad lyrics, until it gets to the 'no bus' nonsense. Tel Aviv: another bloody middle eastern diatribe but catchy tune and I think the 'all of my friends are in trouble' is a clever refrain. Enough?
 

evennow

Writers on the storm
I know that “sack the band” was a mantra for a while, but I’m not sure it would fix much these days. Morrissey knows their limitations – Jesse’s ham-fistedness is a running joke, Boz always looks bored to tears – but I think he goes through musical “obsessions” and can’t be swayed. “Glam” was one, the thrashy, Smiths-murdering “Jesse era” was another, and then he went all flamenco. Some of his recent music is quite interesting, but the lyrics are weaker and weaker. It’s like the Morrissey machine is on autopilot.
Please include the Rockabilly period, which in terms of music, lyrics, and wardrobe was my favorite!

 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I Bury the Living is a Grade A clunker: musically it's so ugly it's virtually unlistenable, lyrically it's an embarrassment.
It's a wall of disjointed, distorted noise - painful. And it becomes more so when you consider that he considered The Draize Train so poor that it wasn't worth lyrics! (Oscillate Wildly was intended to be an instrumental but Draize wasn't.)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Ah, but what you have there is your own subjective opinion, which I don't happen to agree with. Let's just run through those again from my perspective... Israel, which so many have got their knickers in a knot about, is nothing to do with middle east politics but is everything to do with its gay friendly attitude and how our favourite humasexual feels accepted there after all the years of Catholic guilt - rather moving and definitely one of his better efforts. Although, yes, sweeping aside the political hot potato with a simple 'I can't answer for what armies do' is a bit crap, I admit.
In Your Lap, which as you say, is a lovely composition has some definite lyrical clunkers (eg 'they love to kill and they just love to harm') but it also has the beautifully poetic:
I rescued you in so many ways
You're good for a laugh, that's all you can say
Summer is winter, and winter prevails
And I'm so tired of counting the days
I am so tired of counting the days

I Bury the Living is a Grade A clunker: musically it's so ugly it's virtually unlistenable, lyrically it's an embarrassment. Likewise the Shitty Awful Police Song. When You Open Your Legs: suffers from his continued, baffling obsession with flamenco (but I grant you the words aren't great either). Home: cannot understand the enthusiasm for this, it's a massively dreary dirge (likewise I Wish You Lonely). Spent: Decent pop tune with not bad lyrics, until it gets to the 'no bus' nonsense. Tel Aviv: another bloody middle eastern diatribe but catchy tune and I think the 'all of my friends are in trouble' is a clever refrain. Enough?
I (original anon) actually agree with you on much of this. Love that cracking verse from In Your Lap - shows he can still do it. And, yes, Spent is great until the dimwitted bus/boss bit.
Israel - it's the idea that the main problem with the country is that others are jealous that represents a whole new level of idiocy. But a really evocative piece of music.
And Tel Aviv is a beauty. Such a lovely composition and brilliantly arranged. The lyrics are good, too, in places. The quality of the music is just light years ahead of the chug-rock rubbish we've had to put up with in the past (on pre-World Peace albums) like Black Cloud, OK by Myself, Father must be killed etc.
Bury the Living - I like quite a lot of the lyrics. The idea that the soldier has actually died for nothing (funny how the war goes on), addressing the nonsense cliche of soldiers dying doing the job they love (getting shot in the head?). And the coda is a beauty, no? But I don't agree at all that soldiers simply have a hatred for all human life. All the Young People - it's a fresh sound for Morrissey, and a playful lyric.
Obsession with flamenco? Out of 300 songs, there are surely only 3 or 4 songs in this style, so hardly an obsession. And again, I'd much prefer this to the chug rock gormlessness.
So, I agree with the reviewers - surprisingly good/unusual (for a Morrissey album) music, but often let down by the lyrics. New music contributors won't really help things. Steering away from clumsy political observation and tedious sexual obsessions probably will.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Charts? Where?
He's outsold the previous album, and is mid-way through his most successful UK tour ever - he's never managed to fill so many arenas before (previous arena tour was to half to two thirds full venues).
But there is nothing/no-one on planet Earth that you hate as much as Steve Morrissey so this news will bring you nothing but pain.
Top tip - find a pop star you actually like, and spend vast amounts of your life on his/her website instead.
 

Peppermint

Well-Known Member
I (original anon) actually agree with you on much of this. Love that cracking verse from In Your Lap - shows he can still do it. And, yes, Spent is great until the dimwitted bus/boss bit.
Israel - it's the idea that the main problem with the country is that others are jealous that represents a whole new level of idiocy. But a really evocative piece of music.
And Tel Aviv is a beauty. Such a lovely composition and brilliantly arranged. The lyrics are good, too, in places. The quality of the music is just light years ahead of the chug-rock rubbish we've had to put up with in the past (on pre-World Peace albums) like Black Cloud, OK by Myself, Father must be killed etc.
Bury the Living - I like quite a lot of the lyrics. The idea that the soldier has actually died for nothing (funny how the war goes on), addressing the nonsense cliche of soldiers dying doing the job they love (getting shot in the head?). And the coda is a beauty, no? But I don't agree at all that soldiers simply have a hatred for all human life. All the Young People - it's a fresh sound for Morrissey, and a playful lyric.
Obsession with flamenco? Out of 300 songs, there are surely only 3 or 4 songs in this style, so hardly an obsession. And again, I'd much prefer this to the chug rock gormlessness.
So, I agree with the reviewers - surprisingly good/unusual (for a Morrissey album) music, but often let down by the lyrics. New music contributors won't really help things. Steering away from clumsy political observation and tedious sexual obsessions probably will.
Some nice points there, Anon. But I interpret the 'jealous' thing differently; for me, the whole song is about gay sex/rights/acceptance, and those lines:

In other climes, they bitch and whine
Just because you're not like them...
The sky is dark for many others
They want it dark for you as well...
And they who reign abuse upon you
They are jealous of you as well...

I saw as a comment on other countries (particularly in the middle east) who are not so enlightened on gay rights. One thing I have learned about Morrissey over the years is that he tends to interpret things through the prism of his own interests.

Anyway, just my interpretation. Morrissey as we know divides people like nobody else and his lyrics are no exception!
 

Uncleskinny

It's all good
Subscriber
He's outsold the previous album, and is mid-way through his most successful UK tour ever - he's never managed to fill so many arenas before (previous arena tour was to half to two thirds full venues).
But there is nothing/no-one on planet Earth that you hate as much as Steve Morrissey so this news will bring you nothing but pain.
Top tip - find a pop star you actually like, and spend vast amounts of your life on his/her website instead.
Try again. Chart success was mentioned, I asked which charts? Go find them.
 

Surface

Vegan Cro’s parents regret the condom splitting
Try again. Chart success was mentioned, I asked which charts? Go find them.
Not sure what your question is here Skinny. It charted worldwide but was it a success? Depends on what the criteria of success is? If it is to chart, yes it succeeded, if it was to get to the top 5 in the charts, then apart from the UK it didn’t succeed.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
It did chart well in the U.K. like all of his albums have. Bands like the salford mods last album charged twelve. Does that make them a failure. It charted top ten in Scotland Ireland and top twenty isn’t he us. A lot of bands wouldn’t see that as failure as they do worse. It just strikes me as disingenuous when a reporter gig reviewer can walk into a one of four sold out shows in London while he plays his album which charted top five there and see nothing but signs of decline. They might think him declining in there personal opinion but there’s not really any signs that a large amount of people agree with them
 
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