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4.4 out of 5 stars85
4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2004
If you like Morrisey - just don't hesitate over this album would be my advice. A slow burner, it took me a couple of listens before certain tracks really started to stand out - with excellent lyrics, astonishing vocal delivery and impressive production. Then the others started to take me by the lapels as well. The entire album is absolutely splendid and will repay the purchase price many times over. It has been constantly in my player for the last 4 weeks and I expect it to remain undislodged for some time to come! Wonderful.
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on 6 June 2004
Morrissey's post-Smiths solo career has been a troubled one to say the least, moving from the sublime pop-joys of Viva Hate, through to the problematic follow up Kill Uncle, and then off into the realms of pure genius with the doubled-headed Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I... It was around this time however that Morrissey's reputation began to wane, with right-on journalists (and the NME) mistaking the ironic underpinning of songs like Bengali in Platforms, Asian Rut, and The National Front Disco as latent racism, attacking Morrissey's choice of subject matter, and his growing infatuation with supposed-nationalist iconography, and pretty much missing the point of his work entirely. Thus, two progressive-rock albums followed (Southpaw Grammar & Maladjusted) to almost universal disdain, before the singer absconded to America... leaving tabloid thugs like Oasis to be idolised as the saviours of modern-rock.
Now, after a break of seven-years, Morrissey has finally returned with possibly the greatest album of his career... eschewing the sound of the past for something slightly more contemporary, invigorated and direct. The record-sleeve is a clear reflection of this new, up-front mentality, acting as the most candid statement that Morrissey has ever put across... posed with his Thompson machine gun, decked out in a sharper-than-sharp suit, and with a quizzical grin on his face, it is clear that Morrissey is quite literally on the 'attack' and is gunning for the quarry without humility or remorse. This no-holds-barred approach is apparent in both the sound and the lyrical concerns also, with it becoming fairly obvious to even the most myopic of listeners that Morrissey's time spent away from the public eye was not a period of readjustment - nor was it spent on reflection and forgiveness - with You Are the Quarry offering us a more confrontational singer, who croons spiteful vitriol like never before... as those familiar with first single Irish Blood-English Heart will no doubt attest.
The rougher, 21st century sound is unarguably the work of producer and mixer Jerry Finn (he of Greenday, Blink 182 and Sum 41 shame) who incorporates a few digital samples and 'swishy' effects in order to enliven Morrissey musings, though, that said, the melodies created by the star and his ever-faithful backing band (Alain Whyte, Bozz Boorer and Gary Day, who have been co-writing and performing with Morrissey since Your Arsenal) are truly stupendous, with at least six of the songs here going beyond the melodious excellence set in stone by the Smiths' own classic The Queen is Dead. Opening track America is not the World sets up a political theme that runs throughout many of the subsequent numbers, whilst also acting as the flipside to Irish Blood... by detailing Morrissey's apathy for the country he now calls home, for reasons that allude to the current problems in the middle-east. Though it is a song of real emotional honesty, it most certainly does not represent Morrissey's skill as a communicator of feelings and ideas as well as some of the other songs found on the album... such as I Have Forgiven Jesus ("...for all this desire he placed in me, when there's nothing I can do with this desire") and All the Lazy Dykes ("at last... your life begins").
Though politics (both governmental and emotional) are central to the record, giving this a definite Kevin Rowland theme, You Are the Quarry is also a brilliant example of Morrissey's wry juxtaposing of cultural ideals... as it manages to reflect on both his move to America and the changes in the social (or anti-social) climate, whilst also acting as a nostalgic peen to the country that made him the man he is today (as lyrics like "drinking tea with the taste of the Thames, sullenly on a chair on the pavement" from Come Back to Camden or "I've been dreaming of a time when to be English is not to be baneful, to be standing by the flag not feeling shameful" from the aforementioned Irish Blood... clearly demonstrate). It's also an album that gives us enough of that trademark lonely romanticism that Morrissey is so adored for, as illustrated on that transcendent, heavenly wonderment The World is Full of Crashing Bores, in which Morrissey manages to attack both mindless technocrats and spineless pop stars whilst also delivering that beautiful, classical Morrissey chorus "the world is full of crashing bores, and I must be one, 'coz no one ever turns to me to say, take me in your arms and love me".
This is a song that is up there with Alsatian Cousin, Everyday is Like Sunday and The More You Ignore Me... - as far as classic Morrissey solo goes - and I really hope that Sanctuary release it as the next single... if not, then it should definitely be The First of the Gang to Die; a typical example of Morrissey guitar pop if ever there was, with a tremendous sing-along-chorus and the kind of subject matter that has been prevalent in his past output, with songs like Last of the Famous International Playboys and Now My Heart is Full. Though some of the tracks, such as I'm not Sorry and Let Me Kiss You aren't quite as well rounded as some of the ones previously noted, the record does end with You Know I Couldn't Last... which along with Crashing Bores, I Have Forgiven Jesus, and Last of the Gang exemplifies Morrissey's new-found creative freedom and a return to the kind of sniping, heartbreaking pop-rock that he has always done so much better than anyone else. ...and he stole all hearts away.
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on 8 August 2004
This was the first solo album of Morrissey's I have bought. I have been mostly put off by his other attempts much preferring to listen to past Smiths albums. However, hearing the two singles of Irish Blood and First of the Gang, I was impressed. The album hasn't disappointed me, though there is a noticeable difference between this and the Smiths. The lyrics are fantastic; however, they do lack the subtly of his past triumphs. America is the not the World might put off some, but I quite like it with hilarious lyrics like ' hey you, you big fat pig' and saying America will be fine 'for haven't you me with you now'. Irish Blood does speak to me personally with strong lyrics and guitars.
'I have forgiven you Jesus' is good and probably draws you in after a few listenings. Come Back to Camden has interesting lyrics and is familarly melancholy though is not not my favourite. The weakest songs might be I'm not Sorry, How can Anybody Possibly know How I feel? and All the Lazy Dykes, although they do add something to the album. Most would agree that the World is Full of Crashing Bores is good and the attacks on the usual policemen, taxmen etc are catchy.
First of the Gang is superb. I couldn't stop singing this for weeks with its fantastic chorus. My other favourites are Let Me Kiss You and I Like You. Many say these are the weaker links of the album but Morrissey's voice is sublime through these songs. Let Me Kiss You also has brilliant guitar, probably the best on the album. I Like You is simple and refreshingly upbeat with lyrics of 'I like you because you're not right in the head and nor am I', which you find yourself singing hours afterwards.
The finale of You Know I Couldn't Last does have a place on the album but it is noticeabley longer than the other songs and tends to be slightly tedious. It has the reference to magazines and critics, which always have to appear with Morrissey can be annoying. However, the song is still above the average. The highlight of the song are the last lines of 'the squalor of the mind', which shows off Morrissey's voice and finds you singing tunelessly to. This album is good and I would recommend it. It is addictive, I've been playing non-stop for days and is fantastic to sing to. If you're already a Morrisey fan go out and buy.
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on 26 July 2004
Early Morrissey and The Smiths never figured on my radar, so I'm not speaking for the obviously dedicated fan base. I once found him unconvincing, like a sixth-former with a manufactured trendy conscience putting on a pretend voice.
But this album... yes, Morrissey is just as miserable but, to the uninitiated like me, the owner of a very dry wit and, dare I say it, an absolutely stunning voice, best demonstrated in The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores.
I can't say I agree with some of his extreme sentiments here, but it is hard to dismiss his sincerity. It is refreshing at last to have something to listen to that combines good music, great lyrics, and an opinion.
And, just to add insult to injury, the old misery is one of those rare lucky devils who actually looks better with age.
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on 6 June 2004
Morrissey has hibernated seemingly dormant in Los Angeles without a recording contract for several years, but he now emerges refreshed like a boxer with a fresh gum shield. This album is a slice of Morrissey's recent life and he has returned to a similar level of wit and Wildean comment last seen in the early days of his solo career. This album feels very complete. There is the obligatory anti-America-but-not-really track, the record company angst, the Hispanic influence of his adopted home and a general sense of Englishness running through each song like a stick of Brighton rock. This album is a fantastic new contribution to the Morrissey canon with a cover photograph worthy of Dorian Gray. Please don't let us wait so long next time Mozza - you can last!
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on 16 June 2004
I think this record could well contain the strongest vocal performances that Morrissey has ever recorded. Gone are the slightly off-pitch notes of albums past. He can *really* carry a tune. It does seem that, from a purely vocal performance point of view, he gets better and better. Apart from this, the songs are the strongest he has written in ages, the band sound really tight, the album is well recorded and the production is good. More please. Whatever happened to the work rate he used to manage with The Smiths?
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on 15 November 2004
Me - pre September 2004. Thoughts about Morrissey and The Smiths - pretentious bores, hot air, overhyped. Not a fan then!
Why did I buy this album? Good review in a magazine I read cover to cover.
My judgement? Ecstatic!
This album is a work of pure genius. Unbelievable, unbeatable, unexpected. Can't stop playing it. Tracks 1 thru 12. Then random. Then 1 thru 12 again. Over and over. I only have ears for this.
Everything is right about this Morrissey album. Instrumentation throughout is superb. Vocals have real depth and feeling. Lyrically biting and bitter yet sharp and somewhat faintly amusing. The best album of the year by a mile. If Steven could produce work like this on a regular basis there'd be a statue of him somewhere in Manchester.
Could it be I like it? I'm not right in the head.
This album gives hope to all of us who like our music to be original, carefully crafted and have the sort of depth and longevity that is sadly missing from most of the current UK music scene.
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on 9 September 2004
What a long wait! but BOY! what a return to form for morrissey, full of fantastic songs like "all the lazy dykes" "the first of the gang to die" and "irish blood english heart" are all classic mozza tracks we all come to love and hate and after hearing them, i sure ones that you'll be listening to time after time, in fact their isnt one bad track thats not worth listening to, but new mozza fans beware! mozza has a unique way of setting the world to rights with his lyrics a classic example of this is "america is not the world" its certainly quite unique but so simply superb,
Ive listened to my copy so many times im in danger of wearing it out..
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on 9 July 2004
Being a bit sceptical after some of his poorer efforts I decided to wait until I'd heard the second single before purchasing the cd. I needn't have worried! On first listen I was a bit unsure but I urge everyone to stick with it as it just gets BETTER and BETTER with every listen. It's on my MP3 player and I'm never taking it off. Come Back To Camden is about the best Morrisseys voice has ever sounded and songs like First of the Gang To Die and The World is Full of Crashing Bores will have you walking round all day singing them over and over again. PLEASE, PLEASE, don't make us wait so long for another one!
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on 4 June 2004
Alas, the anti hero!!! Mozza is back in amazing form. As a big fan of The Smiths i never really fully embraced his solo efforts in the past as ive found them inconsistent and including as much bad material as good. I only acknowledge his Suedehead: The Very Best Of album. The drummer in my band is a die-hard Morrissey fan and he convinced me enough that You Are The Quarry is going to be different from his norm and going to be his best so far. How true he was!! It seems as though the whole band have gone back to the drawing board and replaced alot of the chugging, trebly guitars with fearsome heavy riffs and generally giving the whole sound some umph!! Morrisseys lyrics are still the strongest part of the album and ive never known him to write as well, coherent and frank as You Are The Quarry. They have a more world-wisely feel as he sings about the past, boyhood friendships, religion, politics and his frailties of early manhood and how he's rectified them.
The opening track "America is not the world" instantly gets you hooked with its hilarious lyrics about america and mellow music albeit controversial "America/your heads too big/becasue America/your bellys too big"(I cant see this song getting radio play in the US). The single "Irish Blood, English Heart" is a beast of a song and it has serious chorus!! My favorite track on the album is "First of the gang to die" & it must be a future single. Its fantastic guitar riff coupled with a great melody and lyrics make it very radio friendly!!!
Brilliant buy if your a Smiths fan and even better if your a Morrisey fan!!!
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