ALBUM REVIEW: Morrissey – Years Of Refusal


By Chris Richards

(2009, Dekka/Polydor[UK], Attack/Lost Highway [US])

I’m not ashamed to say that I love Morrissey. I think he’s awesome. But some of the love wore off a bit after the last album. But this one proves that I was a foolish, foolish man to doubt. This effort is a beautiful, great, thundering guitar-thumping rock epic, truly worthy of the man himself.

On the surface, Morrissey’s ninth studio album sounds like he’s realised that he’s got a lot more to give than the last album. He really sounds revitalised, ready to flex those rock muscles after the rather limp ‘Ringleader of the Tormentors’ with a frantic urgency, a completely revitalised voice and a beautifully written album redolent with the full force of his chest-beating, grudge-bearing, elegantly-worded best.

Morrissey’s voice is amazing. It’s more powerful than any of his recent releases – you can really hear it on ‘It’s Not Your Birthday Any More’, a searing track co-written with longtime collaborator Alain Whyte. The lyrics are as powerful and biting as ever, burning with the amazing wit, verbage and style he’s been famous for, and it all comes together beautifully. He sounds like he’s stripping off a piece of his soul. You really believe in his plaintive, tortured, beautiful wail with every word you hear, with every sentence he writes.

Speaking of writing, it won’t take you long into the album when you realise it turns out that even though Alain Whyte doesn’t actually play on the album, the songwriting partnership is still as strong as ever. The elegance of Morrissey’s songwriting is in the perfectly-worded one-line observation, delivered with a charming accent and a hidden sneer. And it’s here with an absolute vengeance on this album. There’s almost a concentrated effort of fire and venom ? He sounds like a man with a verbal score to settle, and it’s what makes this album so damn GOOD. It definitely as though he’s gone back to the days of the fiery proselytising of 2004’s ‘You Are The Quarry’.

This latest album has an amazing rock production value, thanks to the powerful yet-polished sound added by the late, lamented Jerry Finn , the producer of all sorts of stuff from the gleeful exuberance of Green Day’s ‘Dookie’ to the hefty rock-solid sound on The Living End’s awesome debut, with stuff like The Alkaline Trio, Madness and Bad Religion in there as well. And now his final album is worthy of a place up there with the best of them before suffering a fatal cerebral haemhorrage. Before I sound too arselicky, let me just say that this is not just another Morrissey album, not by any stretch of the rope. He’s updated the powerful polish-and-punch of 2004’s ‘Quarry’ With something special.

As I said, an album worthy of the man himself – big whinger that he is, I love him all over again.

Songwriting: 10/10
Production: 8/10
Musicianship: 7.5/10
TOTAL = 25.5

OMG Moments – 6

Check it out at


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