YOU ARE THE QUARRY
ATTACK, BMG RELEASE: MAY
17, 2004 REVIEW: MAY 18,
really like a proper sing-along album.
Nothing beats the simple, straightforward
campfire songs that come with a simple
message; a love letter perhaps, or
the righteous wrath of the protest
singer. When you find yourself humming
along, and not resenting yourself
for it but actually enjoying the lyrics,
you know you have found one of those
proper albums. I like the simplicity
of these songs. Morrissey is angry
He misses his dear old London. He
is lonely. He is fed up with critics
and besides, this music business thing
is just so damn tiring. He has a way
with words, but there is nothing smugly
smart about these lyrics, no secret
passages or trap doors within them
(unless, which is likely, I am the
fool). In fact, the blunt US criticism
of "America Is not the world"
even sounds weirdly naive, like a
child asking "why doesn't everybody
just stop fighting and hug each other?".
But this is what the world looks like
to Morrissey, then, with a little
gangster story added for a thrill.
"Hector was the first in the
gang with a gun in his hand...".
That's not Morrissey anymore, but
me singing now, lines that I can't
and won't shake from my head and that
will surely be familiar to just about
anybody very soon.
Why the rather bleak "Irish Blood,
English Heart" and not "First
of the Gang to Die", or some
other song, was chosen as first single
is a mystery. Judging from the lyrics
(about how being proud of your country
does not mean being racist) the issue
might be to clear up the old absurd
allegations, about Morrissey being
racist, for good.
It is possible, I have found, to disregard
the sporadic and ill fitting breakbeats
which producer Jerry Finn has seen
fit to "spice up" the album
with, and just enjoy the sheer catchieness.
No proper cook would treat a perfectly
good meal the way Finn does, but his
assignment is just an unfortunate
consequence of Morrissey's positive
change of mood. That difficult man,
who never even bothered to answer
his phone, suddenly shows up on the
porch in his best suit, ringing the
doorbell. He's even got flowers, a
little garish to be sure, but with
the best of intentions. Let's ask
him in for a cuppa, shall we?