Morrissey - World Peace Is None of Your Business - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Morrissey - World Peace Is None of Your Business

by Jim Harris Rating:6 Release Date:2014-07-16

Morrissey is back after five years and, regardless of the fickle nature of his lyrics, the forlorn rise and fall of his clearly defined vocal style, he still knows his way around a hook. Yes, like so many pivotal alternative songwriters from those defining 80s bands who keep doing it, the music gets a tad heavier and glossier, and the refreshing apparent spontaneity of say, a track like ‘How Soon is Now?’ or my favorite ‘Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” ("Some girls mothers are bigger than other girls mothers…") is replaced by a certain mid-tempo seriousness, and with that loss of lightness there is considerable loss of the tongue-in-cheek humor which always seemed to be at the core of The Smiths. 

The Smiths were an entity defined by the creative guitar work of Johnny Marr as much as they were by Morrissey’s sardonic, inflected vocals. Who hasn’t heard the reverb of ‘How Soon is Now?’ in every band from The New Pornographers to The Warlocks on through any number of groups in the last 30 years? In many ways, this new Morrissey release shows the 30-year distance from that Smiths seminal vibe.

On more than one level, the overly proficient guitar work on World Peace is None of Your Business makes for some atrociously boring songs which frankly could have been cut from this overly long collection. One particular offender is ‘Kiss Me A Lot’. While this track has that ersatz-romantic, deadpan Morrissey lyric, the music, with its abrupt Latino jams late in the song, sound alarmingly like late 70s Jethro Tull.

Morrissey is at his best on such mid-tempo rockers as the opening title track and the strongest cut, ‘Istanbul’. However, far too often the songs fall into very well-done, virtuoso guitar jams punctuated by orchestrated, precise rhythms which frankly don’t leave much of an impression.  Throw in some tired lyrical exercises which appear to better serve the widescreen behind his gloriously engaging stage presence (‘Earth is the Loneliest Planet’ and ‘Smiler with Knife’) with some just plain tired polemics (There’s a difference between love and sex... Is there now Morrissey? You devil you.)  And what you have is a somewhat pompous exercise in musical excesses strewn among a hatful of strong tracks.

World Peace is None of Your Business isn’t a bad album but Morrissey has seen better days and better music. Someone from his label should have told him to throttle it some and perhaps put his acerbic tongue a little farther back into his cheek. But as the great Cobain said, all we are is all we are…

Morrissey is who he is, thank you very much. Yes, some artists are bigger than other artists and some artist's labels are bigger than other artist's labels, so take his 58 minutes and swallow…

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