Album Review: Morrissey, World Peace Is None Of Your Business

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Cards on the table here – I was a massive fan of The Smiths, but haven’t delved into Morrissey’s solo material very much. I couldn’t imagine that voice without the twangly guitar accompaniment of sidekick Johnny Marr. In a way I didn’t want besmirch their memory, being unable to imagine anything much better. But after reading Morrissey’s autobiography I was frankly quite surprised at how much success he’s had in his solo career, so head into this album with curiosity, but no knowledge of his previous nine solo albums.
The album was recorded in France and has a very Mediterranean feel to it: French accordion, Spanish guitar and castanets, trumpets and Turkish Islamic wails thread through it. Clearly no review of Morrissey’s material would escape without a huge amount of lyric quotes, and there’s some crackers in here. Staircase at the University has probably got the most Smithsy feel to it and puts the hugest grin on my face when I hear “Staircase at the University, she threw herself down and her head split three ways. If you don’t get three As, her sweet Daddy said, you’re no child of mine and as far as I’m concerned you’re dead”. It’s not my bloodthirsty disregard of the welfare of the nation’s budding academics, it’s just that exam stress is not something I imagined Morrissey having an understanding of, and this is the kind of emotional extremism I loved him for.
Other more familiar themes are touched upon – he’s still a political beast and in the title track World Peace Is none of your Business (“so would you kindly keep your nose out”) he remarks that “Each time you vote, you support the process”. I’m Not A Man lists all the stereotypical macho behaviours that Morrissey doesn’t display (thank heavens, some of us say) and his long term commitment to animal rights comes to the fore in The Bullfighter Dies. In this track in particular, he indulges in a display of playing with words, exploring rhyme and alliteration in his own way: “Mad in Madrid, Ill in Seville, Lonely in Barcelona…” There are plenty of smiles in this album – Kiss Me A Lot is joyous in it’s encouragement to indulge in the act repeatedly and with full coverage. And Kick The Bride Down the Aisle gives us a hint that Morrissey isn’t the biggest advocate for matrimony: “She just wants a slave to break his back in pursuit of a living wage, so that she can laze and graze for the rest of her days.” The cow!
My favourite tracks are Istanbul and Mountjoy, because they are sonically the most compelling. Istanbul is full of evocative vibrancy – close your eyes and you’re in that city. Irresistible guitar riffs, and an interjection of what sounds like an exotic Middle Eastern stringed instrument that I  have no hope of naming, are interwoven with thunder rumbles and calls to prayer at the mosque. Morrissey has lost his brown eyed son and is searching frantically for him. Unfortunately he runs the rapier of the street gangs tongue and identifies him in a box. Somehow you knew this one wasn’t going to have a happy ending. Mountjoy (an Irish prison) where Morrissey “was sent by a three foot half wit in a wig” has relentless acoustic guitar over a brooding background. It leaves you in a high state of anticipation until cannon rumbles enter, the sound of knives sharpening and some minor cello chords. “The only thing that makes me cry is when I see the sky”.
It feel pretty good to revisit an old love, and it appears that Morrissey’s musical career is once more some of my business.

33 thoughts on “Album Review: Morrissey, World Peace Is None Of Your Business

  1. I love what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and coverage!

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    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m just one person and I’m called Music Waffle because I do tend to just waffle on about things that I like. I’m really not trying to be clever. 🙂 x

      Like

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  3. Wow…I just had to navigate through a veritable stream of European comments to get here!
    I’ve not followed all his solo career, but there is of course some damn good stuff of his out there. I’ll have to find this one to give it a listen I think. Anyway, Listen to Bona Drag. (You must have done already, I’m sure?!) But if not.. it’s the most Smiths-like solo stuff he did in my opinion & I love it. That’s all! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a French speaking Canadian friend who had to help me translate those comments! The gist was that they were complimentary (I think!). I had no idea Morrissey had such a following over the Channel!
      I’ve heard bits from Bona Drag but must try & do it justice with my full attention. X

      Like

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