I COULD TASTE A TRACE OF AMERICAN CHEMICAL WASTE
I've received letters complaining about my not having written about Morrissey here in a while. So, lucky for you, he has a new single out.
"First of the Gang To Die" is probably the most obvious choice off of You Are The Quarry. It's rocking, with a good hook, and an amusing recasting of violent Latino street gangs in a pretty 1950s leather jacket. Too bad the video didn't have Moz pouring out a 40 on poor Hector's grave. Sadly, they have wrapped this gem in what must be the worst sleeve of Morrissey's career ("Oh, I know...let's use the same photoshoot, but we'll make it look like he's behind a shower door!") and some truly not-that-great B-sides.
The best of the lot is "My Life is a Succession of People Saying Goodbye," a pretty ballad that is a big workmanlike, but a pretty face is a pretty face and I like it. It's the other two, "Teenage Dad On His Estate" and "Mexico," that fall flat, sounding more like Maladjusted album tracks. (Could it be that Morrissey has reversed his position? His last two albums weren't so hot and were easily outranked by the B-sides; is it now set up to be the other way around?) "Teenage Dad" is musically limp with a strange narrative about a rich man who is unhappy, who has disdain for the young man down the hill from his mansion who is poor, but enjoys his family. Okay. Oddly, in the next song, it feels like Morrissey becomes the rich man in his estate, looking south of the border with a tear in his eye in "Mexico." It's a somewhat embarrassing political screed about being rich and white in America from a rich, white guy who lives in America. This did the rounds on the tours that preceded this album, and there was a BBC radio performance of it, and if anything can be said of the new version, it's that producer Jerry Finn manages to pull of the impossible and give the backing track some new life. Shame he couldn't fix the lyrics. I'm sure they're well intentioned, though. (It's kind of sad. I was listening to The Holy Bible the other day and thinking we really need an album like that for right now. But from who? At least there is said to be a 10th anniversary edition in the works, and the Manics themselves are working on a new one with Tony Visconti--so maybe they'll surprise us?)
(It's weird to admit, but I find it a bit embarrassing that I've been listening to "Mexico" with my windows open, with a group of Mexican workers repaving some of my apartment building's courtyard outside. I keep expecting them to knock on my door and ask, "What the fuck is that? You trying to send us a message or something?")
So, as of now, a fairly disappointing second release for the Mozzfather. Smartly, he seems to be saving "Don't Make Fun of Daddy's Voice," a highlight of recent live shows with its ? & the Mysterians organ riff, for a future single. Possibly an A-side, like his great non-album singles from the early '90s?
Update: The Federal Marriage Act got sunk in the House this morning. But only by two votes? That's not nearly enough. We really need to kick some folks out of Washington.
Jibber Jabber: More linked to in this blog than Morrissey, Jen De Guzman hits at the same New York Times article I wrote about two days ago, in two posts from the 7/12 & 13 in her live journal. She also links to writer and colorist Rikki Simons, another person amongst indie comics who sees this is not the godsend the people it validates would like to proclaim. Yes, let's watch the circular world of blogging!
Current Soundtrack: Moz, "FOTGTD;" Interpol Antics; Rubettes, Best of...