Anyone who has ever heard of Morrissey will know that he always has something to say. This album is certainly no exception to the Morrissey rule. As a lyricist who has never lacked for controversial words or opinions, the themes and viewpoints that Morrissey has written about have remained the same throughout his career, and yet he has managed to make each song sound unique. Such themes have not gone amiss on Morrissey’s latest work, with features from animal rights (The Bullfighter Dies and I’m Not A Man), teenage pressures (Staircase At The University), and of course, a dose of Morrissey isolation (Earth Is The Loneliest Planet).
The titular track of the album, World Peace Is None Of Your Business, acts as Morrissey’s initial rallying call to his audience regarding the cruelty and secrecy of governments in today’s society. Morrissey has often found himself in the firing line for his potentially damaging standpoint. Examples include the incident of 2006, where he was investigated by the FBI and British Special Branch with regard to whether he was a potential threat to the administrations or not. After this incident, Morrissey stated:
My view is that neither England or America are democratic societies. You can’t really speak your mind and if you do, you’re investigated.
The lyrics of this opening track suggest that Morrissey is still of this opinion. The assertive and galvanising tone of Morrissey’s rallying call is hardly surprising. Similar to Russell Brand’s controversial call for revolution in 2013, Morrissey cries out to the ‘fools’ in his audience base: “Each time you vote you support the process.” Whether you agree with Morrissey’s sentiments or not, this first song opens the album with the electricity of a taser.
The magic of Morrissey is that, although each song has a completely different sound, the album surprisingly flows like a well-crafted musical of Morrissey’s wide ranging opinions. Each track allows the listener into another crevice of Morrissey’s fascinating mindset, along with a sonorous musical backdrop. Just one of the many highlights includes I’m Not A Man, in which Morrissey expresses his increasing rejection of manhood and of humanity’s cruelty. Throughout the seven minutes and forty-eight second track, his lyrics emphasise everything that is wrong with humanity, with reference to workaholics, war, and man’s carnivorous instincts. Note that Morrissey states:
I’m not a man, I’m something much bigger and better than a man.
Take from that what you will.
For me, the weakness of the album is the chaotic Oboe Concerto, which lyrically, is yet another ‘Mozzagasm’. It pains me to say that I have to agree with Morrissey’s own lyrics here: “There’s a song I can’t stand and it’s stuck in my head.” The sneaky trumpet teamed with the migraine-inducing sound effects are enough to drive someone insane. Plus, the song’s confused attempt at a futuristic musical undertone detracts from the melancholic beauty of Morrissey’s lyrical genius.
As a standalone album, Morrissey has produced yet another fine record to add to his repitoire. Fans should also be pleased to see Morrissey back on form. Lyrical strengths within songs such as Neal Cassady Drops Dead and the witty Art-Hounds are just some of the reasons ‘Mozzagasms’ will be had all around. However, for The Smiths fan-base from which Morrissey has distanced himself, the majority of the album will probably go amiss – with Staircase At The University potentially being the only source of solace.
Overall, Morrissey has proved his musical genius yet again with his unique blend of musical magic and lyrical mastery. Yet Morrissey’s controversial standpoint may prove to be more of an acquired taste for the majority.