- Audio CD (Feb. 17 2009)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Universal
- ASIN: B001NPUGX2
- In-Print Editions: Audio CD | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
Years of Refusal Import
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|1. Something Is Squeezing My Skull|
|2. Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed|
|3. Black Cloud|
|4. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris|
|5. All You Need Is Me|
|6. When Last I Spoke to Carol|
|7. That's How People Grow Up|
|8. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell|
|9. It's Not Your Birthday Anymore|
|10. You Were Good In Your Time|
|11. Sorry Doesn't Help|
|12. I'm OK By Myself|
2009 release, the 10th album from the iconic Indie legend. The former Smiths frontman teams up once again with producer Jerry Finn (who passed away shortly after the album's completion), resulting in an album more urgent and intimate than the last. Raw and fresh, Years Of Refusal has a spiky Punk-esque energy running through it, further illustrating Morrissey's formidable talent. Never one to stand still for too long, this album moves forward while embracing the past and still managing to sound like Morrissey.
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Dark themes of isolation, unrequited love, loneliness, and insecurity permeate the album, all backed up by some of Morrissey's most personal and vulnerable songwriting ever.
The album opens with "Something is Squeezing My Skull", a rollicking, energetic song, with some killer lines like 'You think by now I should have straightened myself out...thank you, drop dead!' Other highlights are "All You Need is Me", "That's How People Grow Up", "Black Cloud", "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", and the closing track "I'm Okay By Myself". That final song is one of those classic Morrissey anthems. While he's been disappointed, heartbroken, and let down by people in life -and in songs on the album- the final track reinforces a classic Morrissey-ism of being resolutely independent and self-sufficient. (Of course, he does howl "No! No! No!" off into the vortex as the song and album close, so maybe he's reconsidering?)
The slightly flat, overproduced sound of the album is why I can't give this 5 stars. There's a slickness to the sound that takes away from the passionate and emotional lyrics. That's my main criticism.
Morrissey's voice and lyrics are really on fire on this album- and the live renditions of these songs prove that even better. I love that Morrissey is constantly growing and evolving as a performer, while staying true to himself and what he's passionate about. As they say, it's really Morrissey's world, and we just live in it, and I'm always happy to follow wherever he's taking us.
Here's my rankings of Morrissey's solo career, excluding most greatest hits and singles albums (except "Bona Drag).
1) Viva Hate - maybe just because of my sentimental memories of this record when it came out... Favorite tracks - 1,3,6,7,11 & 12 - 5 Stars
2) Years of Refusal - Just a great album - Favorite tracks 1,3,4,5,6,8,11 & 12 - (worth noting I despise track 7?) - 5 Stars
3) Bona Drag - compiled of singles, but most in record form for the first time. So many great songs! - Favorite tracks 1,3-9,11,13, & 14 - 5 Stars
4) Your Arsenal - Another great album, and unlike Bona Drag, this is a true album - Favorite tracks 1-3 and 7-10 - 5 Stars
5) Ringleader of the Tormentors - Easily could be rated higher if not for a couple of slow duds. Several amazing songs on this record, esp. tracks 1,3,7 & 12 - 4-1/2 Stars
6) You are the Quarry - tied with Vauxhall and I - like "Ringleader", a couple of weak songs prevent this from being a 5 star album. Favorite tacks 2,3,5,7,8 & 12 - 4-1/2 Stars
7) Vauxhall and I -a really good album, might deserve better than # 7. Favorite tracks 1,5,6 & 11 - 4 Stars
8) Kill Uncle - Many consider this to be Morrissey's weakest album... Favorite tracks 1,3,9 & 10 - 3 Stars
9) Southpaw Grammar - An admirable attempt at longer songs... Morrissey's band, however, should never outshine Morrissey, and he sounds out of sorts through much of this album. Fav tracks # 1 - 3 Stars
10) Maladjusted - Great first song can't save this album, some of Morrissey's weakest lyrics. Fav tracks (US version) #1 & 10 - 2-1/2 Stars
By the way, if you like live music, "Who Put the M in Manchester (DVD) is great. The bonus disc to Swords is excellent (Swords B-Sides is ok), and Live at Earls Court and Beethoven was Deaf are both worth having. His current live band is the best he's had since The Smiths. Live at Dallas, although entertaining to watch, has an inferior band backing Morrissey.
Now Moz fans, feel free to bash my rankings...
Standout new tracks: "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris," "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore," and "I'm OK By Myself." Plus the two excellent previously available songs: "All You Need Is Me" and "That's How People Grow Up."