Top critical review
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Good, but not spectacular
on 20 May 2004
When Morrissey first announced he had found a record label (Sanctuary) last year, the anticipation for his next studio album, the first since 1997's poor Maladjusted, was high. And sure enough, first single Irish Blood, English Heart got Mozza his highest ever placing in the UK singles charts at Number 3. This album looks set to sell by the truckload, helped in part by his big plugging of the album, but also by a new or unenlightened set of fans who had heard him namechecked by several of the most popular new bands around, such as Franz Ferdinand. So, has Morrissey returned with a vengeance to dismiss the new pretenders to the misery throne?
Not quite. Despite the frustratingly inconsistent nature of his solo work, he still seems to have a massive and loyal fanbase. You Are The Quarry is slightly more consistent than any of his other solo albums (and personally I think, better than Vauxhall & I) but you still feel that he could have done better.
America Is Not The World has a lazy, sunny backing track that belies the savaging that Morrissey delivers. The problem is that the lyrics sound more like "er, you're a nation of fatties...and, and, you sent us into war with Iraq...er, um..." and lacks the bite of songs from previous days like Frankly Mr Shankly. The breakbeat isn't all that either. Still a good, if flawed track. Next up is the single, Irish Blood...which is a stonker. People were hopefully expecting more songs like this on the album I would imagine, but most of the other songs are slow and makes for a bit of a plodding listen at first. But there are some gems with patience. Come Back To Camden has a great melody, and celebrates all of the English things that we moan about. The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores is more like the caustic wit of old, and another strong hook. How Can Anyone Know How I Possibly Feel is another strong track, at least musically. Morrissey's overbearing self-pity really grates on this track. The First Of The Gang To Die is excellent. With a really upbeat hook, what else to expect but quite grim subject matter of a chap in a group who falls by the wayside and ends up dead. Let Me Kiss You is OK, another Morrissey love song (pain and regret). All The Lazy Dykes is also worth a few listens, as is I Like You and You Know I Couldn't Last. But nevertheless the songs are too pedestrian. With seven years to write these songs you expect better. Not as good as some people on here make out, but certainly not as bad as other people say either. 7/10.