Following on from 2009’s Years of Refusal, for Morrissey’s latest effort he re-appears on the scene with just as much vivacity and propensity as ever for meticulously crafting a cutting social comment. The title track “World Peace Is None Of Your Business” contends with an unsurprising disdain for the governmental process. The next track “Neal Cassidy Drops Dead” is alternatively quite ferocious in its melody by comparison and offers the unmistakable Morrissey wit tied into a bit of Beatnik history; the lyric “Neal Cassady Drops Dead and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl becomes a growl” is a particular favourite and for me sums up the track effortlessly.
“I’m Not A Man” on the other hand reverts back to angry derision, as Morrissey seeks to fight against modern gender pigeon-holing, stating his inability to be the ‘warring caveman’. If the lyrics are not enough to gather this sense of frustration then the hammering build in the melody towards the end of the track makes this abundantly clear. Similarly he slams the traditional wifely figure in “Kick the Bride Down the Aisle” by comparing the groom to a soon-to-be enslaved meal ticket and the bride a cow; “Look at that cow, in the field it knows more than your bride knows now.” Whereas “Istanbul” follows a more woeful tale of a missing son but it is this unrelenting melancholy that is more remnant of earlier Morrissey, even in his days in the Smiths.
Continuing to the deal with the bitter disappointment and cruelty of the everyday, in the way only Morrissey can, “Staircase at the University” follows the academic burden of a young girl to the point of suicide. The mournful tone of “Oboe Concerto” charts a growing dismay with younger generations of music and a nostalgia for the old greats, concluding that he too is gradually joining this faction. The final track of the record, “Art Hounds,” is where Morrissey extends his disparagement to the treatment of art critics, deeming them to be detached completely from the work they unforgivingly scrutinise and in fact totally divested of creative talent. A more upbeat moment on the record, such as “Kiss Me A Lot” is possibly a little more disappointing in being so minimal lyrically, as it is his talent as a lyricist that personally makes his music so distinctive.
In the wake of his autobiography being bestowed with the prestigious Penguin Classic title last year, it is clear Morrissey has well and truly cemented himself as one of the true pioneers for alternative music. Indeed this record exhibits a more mature side for the artist, in terms of melody, with the repeated use of Spanish guitars but lyrically retains for the most part his boyish and unique affinity for a sombre yet sharp humour.