Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Albums of the Year 2014 #14 - Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business

At number 14 on our list of favourite / most played albums is World Peace Is None Of Your Business by Morrissey - an artist we've probably never mentioned on the blog before. It's one of the difficulties of being a small scale blog with limited time - you simply can't write about everything you've been enjoying and as a blog that focuses on individual tracks rather than albums (until the end of the year) sometimes records like this don't get much of a look in.

Things hadn’t been going well for Morrissey. There hadn’t been a new record for over half a decade, tours and gigs had been cancelled, there was a fake twitter account that for at least a couple of minutes people believed was really him and his autobiography had received a mixed reaction. We didn’t hold out a huge amount of hope for World Peace Is None of Your Business, yet his 10th solo album was far better than it should have been. No, this record isn’t his greatest – it certainly doesn’t equal anything The Smiths released, it isn’t even as good as Vauxhall And I, but still, it’s one of those ones that we can mark (in the main) as a return to form. It certainly has found us listening repeatedly. For the record this has had 0.05 average more plays / month since first listen than yesterday's choice Jungle and just 0.1 less plays / month less than tomorrow's choice. What we're saying here is that effectively at the bottom end of this list (certainly between positions 15 and 11) there's very little to choose between these records. For more information on how we selected the order of the albums of our list, based on number of times played rather than critical appraisal, see here.

World Peace Is None of Your Business finds the old dog surprising us, freeing himself of his shackles and turning to often eccentric musical instrumentation. Yes this is the Morrissey record that in places sounds like a holiday destination TV show, featuring quite a lot of Mediterranean flamenco guitars as well as burts of didgeridoo, harp and on epic torch song I’m Not A Man a minute and a half of virtually nothing except some gentle ambient burbling. It doesn’t all hang together as well as his best work (but if you believe some of the powers that be that really doesn’t matter these days – nobody is going to listen to a whole album anymore, the internet has made everyone too ADD for that ) but it’s still a hugely enjoyable listen. That is of course if you get enjoyment out of songs about academic pressure and suicide (Staircase At The University), animal cruelty (The Bullfighter Dies) and life inside an Irish prison (Mountjoy) to name just three subjects that Mozza brings to the table. 

At a time when much pop music has degenerated to lowest common denominator lyrics about being ‘in da club’ and being able to ‘do what you want - f*ck 'em', a sentiment that shows just how screwed the modern world is, Morrissey reminds us that pop music can be so much more interesting than that, and delivers some cracking tunes as well.

Morrissey - Staircase At The University

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