Sunday, 20 July 2014

World Peace is None of Your Business: Review.

World Peace is None of Your Business is the ultimate Morrissey album, and by that I don't mean it's his best. I mean it's the one release that manages to sum up what is both fantastic and hair-tearingly frustrating about the man.

Full disclosure: I'm a Morrissey fan, and have been since those high school years when I thought I was the only person in history who didn't fit in, and spent my evenings pouting in the dark while listening to "This Charming Man."  I buy every thing he puts out, from the great (You Are The Quarry) to the embarrassing (that God-awful Satellite of Love cover), and although I can see how people have  become tired of Mozza's semi-political, semi-comic, semi-serious narcissism, I can't stop myself from coming back to him.

World Peace Is None of Your Business kicks off with the titular track. Musically, it's as good as anything he's ever done - it has a lavish, oversaturated kind of feel; all sparkly reverb and shoegazey keyboards. This is the good stuff I was talking about earlier. The bad  comes in the form of the horrific lyrics. "Police will stun you with their stun guns," Morrissey croons, a line so bad not even his distinctive voice can save it from making you laugh out loud. "Or," he helpfully adds, "they'll disable you with tasers/That's what governments are for."

Hey, remember when Morrissey was subtle? No. Me neither.

"World Peace is None of Your Business." What will police do with their stun guns again? 

The album's standout track is the second, "Neal Cassady Drops Dead." It follows a tried and true Morrissey lyric formula -  extended tongue in cheek references to classic writers - but it also manages to inject some fun into the proceedings. Well, Morrissey's kind of fun, anyway, particularly the verse that goes:
Everyone has babies
Babies full of rabies
Rabies full of scabies
Scarlet has a fever...
The little fella has got rubella.

"Neil Cassady Drops Dead" Babies full of rabies!
The album's most 'classic' Morrissey tune is Istanbul - it's also one of the worst. It feels more like a parody of the man than the man himself: it's all the warbly choruses and depressing imagery we've heard before, but there's no passion in it this time. Thank God then for "The Bullfighter Dies", a song exciting enough to kickstart the album and carry us (almost) all the way to the disappointing climax of "Oboe Concerto" a song as dull and pretentious as its title.
The real joy of this album however, has to be the second disc that comes with the bonus edition. It contains six songs that, for God knows what reason, never made it onto the album, which is a real shame, because these six tracks are some of the best that Morrissey has ever recorded. "Scandanavia" is a rousing piece of fun; a perfect chorus overlaid on top of a perfect beat. Even "One of Our Own" the weakest song on this second disc, is still definitely worth a listen.
So, another few years go by, another Morrissey album is released - and once again, it's equal parts genius and equal parts insufferable. But, maybe that's just the way things will have to be. After all, isn't that like life - moments of beauty nestling amongst shards of horror and pain? Or maybe I've been listening to this record for too long and now I'm starting to write like discount Morrissey. Christ. For all of the good in World Peace is None of Your Business listening to it does make you feel like a bit of a douchebag.

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