After five years, Morrissey has made his long-awaited comeback with “World Peace Is None Of Your Business.”
Morrissey came to prominence in the ’80s as the frontman of The Smiths. The band’s music developed a cult following and was beloved for Morrissey’s signature vocals, paired with manic depressive lyrics (perhaps the ancestor of the emo genre) and Johnny Marr’s uplifting, jangle guitar style. Their music was revived with the indie film (500) Days of Summer.
The music of The Smiths, indie-alternative with a hint of post-punk, sounds nothing like Morrissey’s new album, “World Peace Is None Of Your Business.”
Neglecting the lyrics, the title track sounds like a Christmas single. The odd inclusion of bells listens as a parody of a cheesy, rom-com holiday song. But “World Peace Is None Of Your Business” is not a warm and fuzzy holiday tune. The song takes a sarcastic tone toward pacifists and activists. Morrissey’s lyrics seem to sneer at Occupy Wall Street participants and John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”
“World peace is none of your business,” Morrissey sings. “So would you kindly keep your nose out. The rich must profit and get richer and the poor must stay poor. Oh, you poor little fool.”
The music video depicts Morrissey as downright pretentious. He looks down his nose at the camera as he wears a tuxedo, plays piano and speaks the lyrics.
The other music video released for the new album is shot in a similar style. This time, the tuxedo-dawning Morrissey does spoken word of “The Bullfighter Dies” over a slow piece evocative of the closing song at a jazz club.
“Neal Cassady Drops Dead” is a gruesome depiction of the Beat Generation. Over high static guitar, Morrissey describes lovers Neal Cassady and Alan Ginsberg. An aggressive guitar is contrasted with a brief flamenco-inspired guitar solo. This flamenco style unexpectedly creeps up throughout the album, prompting the question: Did Morrissey take a vacation to Spain?
Throughout the album, Morrissey takes listeners on a roller coaster ride of unexpected, and often bizarre, sounds.
“I’m Not A Man” begins with a long and eerie introduction before giving way to Morrissey’s lullaby sound. By the end, the song has morphed into a harsh mix of sound, filled with static, distortion and electronic screams.
The worst track off the album is “Earth Is The Loneliest Planet.” The song includes ghost-like background vocals, what sounds like an accordion solo and even more flamenco guitar.
The album has a few standout tracks. “Staircase At The University” more closely resembles the singles of Morrissey’s solo career, but has an unexpected twist with a horn section. In true Morrissey fashion, the song has a upbeat tempo but is set to morbid lyrics. “Staircase At The University” depicts a disheartened woman desperately trying to get through college (a story many can relate to), who then commits suicide.
Other notable tracks include “The Bullfighter Dies” and “Kiss Me A Lot.”
The album as a whole falls flat. Morrissey has put out hits such as “Suedehead” and “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get” during his solo career. These songs held up for their retention of the style of The Smiths – brokenhearted lyrics set to catchy upbeat music.
Instead, Morrissey’s new album relies too heavily on flamenco guitar and static. “World Peace Is None Of Your Business” simply proves Morrissey’s vocals pair best with Marr’s guitar.
Collegian Staff Reporter Katie Schmidt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.