MetroMix Los Angeles Album Review
Morrissey, 'Years of Refusal'
Master of mope shows off his stamina
By Adam McKibbin
Special to Metromix
February 16, 2009
Years of Refusal
Release date: February 17, 2009
Artist/Band name: Morrissey
Record label: Lost Highway
Official Web Site: http://www.itsmorrisseysworld.com/
The buzz: By the time he turns 50 later this year, Morrissey will be well into his third act as a pop culture icon—a journey that’s transformed him from hugely influential frontman of the Smiths to constant source of controversy as a solo artist to (after a creative and commercial bottoming out) a recharged, larger-than-life crooner who fully embraces his melodramatic aura.
The verdict: “I’m doing very well,” Moz declares at the outset of “Years of Refusal.” Guess what? It doesn’t last. Soon his skull is being squeezed by invisible hands, his mama is dying, children are telling him he smells, and he’s admitting to sometimes feeling hunchbacked. His fans wouldn’t want anything less, of course, and he delivers with typical flair and wry comic timing. Inconsistency has often bedeviled Morrissey, even back in the Smiths days, and “Years of Refusal” suffers from some songs that go nowhere (and some old songs; two appeared on last year’s "Greatest Hits"). He’s developed definite studio chemistry with his band, though, and everyone sounds more charged up than ever. They land some dynamic showstoppers, like the exquisite “It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore.”
Did you know? Producer Jerry Finn died of a brain hemorrhage—at age 39—shortly after completing “Years of Refusal.” Morrissey credits Finn with giving him a new sense of confidence since working together on his big comeback, 2004’s “You Are the Quarry.”