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Morrissey - Years of Refusal

2010-02-12 12:03
Years of Refusal
Produced by pop-punk/punk rock legend Jerry Finn, who has worked with everyone from Blink 182, Alkaline Trio and Green Day, to Tiger Army, Bad Religion and Rancid, Years of Refusal courses with modern sounds.

Tragically, Finn suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and heart attack before Years of Refusal was released. He was 39. In typical prophetic Morrissey fashion, he told Xfm, "It was terribly sad. But the lesson for all of us is that this doesn’t last forever."

Tracked live, Years of Refusal has a grittier, punk rock urgency to it than you might expect. Every song pulses with energy and sinewed, muscular presence. It’s refreshing, a perfect combination of dirty bass sounds, massive drums and Morrissey’s ageless croon.

As far as solo Morrissey albums go, Years of Refusal is right up there: it's one of his best. From the cascading highs (and lows) of "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore," to the anti anti-depressant crank of "Something Is Squeezing My Skull," the fire and determination of "All You Need Is Me" and the matter-of-fact resolve of "Sorry Doesn’t Help."

Morrissey’s a storyteller, a raconteur, licking his wounds every night with morose tales of despair and depressed turn of phrases. He's fifty now, but sounds just as vital, elegantly miserable and tuned in as always, maybe even more so – "One day, goodbye will be farewell."

Still, there's something new on Years of Refusal. In-between all the songs of unrequited love and loneliness – "I'm throwing my arms around Paris because only stone and steel accept my love” – Morrissey’s edging towards album closer "I'm OK By Myself." As if he’s decided it’s time to age gracefully and spread his miserable wings: "Now this might surprise you, but I find I’m okay by myself. And I don't need you...." It's one of the most up-tempo, charged, garage rock tracks on the album, cascading towards its messy end.

There's a majestic air of comfort and reflection toYears of Refusal. Nothing sounds forced, it just is: robust and graceful. Morrissey sings his most confessional lines on "That's How People Grow Old," turning on his moping, self-obsessed persona: "I was wasting my life, always thinking about myself. Someone on their deathbed said: 'There are other sorrows too. I was driving my car. I crashed and broke my spine.' So yes, there are things worse in life than never being someone’s sweetie." Where to next?

"I know by now you think I should have straightened myself out. Thank you, drop dead." Global warming experts should speak to Morrissey, he knows the secret to staying cool.

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