Morrissey - I Am Not a Dog On a Chain Music Album Reviews

Mildly captivating, occasionally repetitive, and frequently ridiculous, the 13th studio album from the fabulous sulk turned red-pill pharmacist is Moz’s vision of radical truth-telling.

The intoxicating, mostly-celibate, square-jawed Steven Patrick Morrissey carries on. Crotchety and vegetarian, and here on the release of his 13th studio album, Moz remains a bitchy, fabulous sulk turned something of a red-pill pharmacist, dealing anyone within earshot a long list of forces to be wary of. Across the past few decades, these include, but aren’t limited to: Muslims, Britain’s immigration policy writ large, the editorial staff of The Guardian, global safety precautions surrounding COVID-19, allegiance toward political parties other than one headed by someone with the “guts to be honest about Islam,” et cetera, et cetera.

Once known for perverting pop music by way of a beautiful, excessive and unsmiling universe of both art and devotee, Morrissey’s vistas have since shrunk. His present fanbase is survived by the morose, the nostalgic, the unaware, a large number of Latinxs, and those who have actively chosen to forgo Morrissey (the man) for Morrissey (the feeling). It’s the heaven you might find in misery, the forgiveness the heartbroken feels for the heartbreaker, the mental calculus one undergoes when realizing the hero who once made you cry and perhaps saved your life might, at some fundamental level, find your existence repugnant. “Imagine,” finishes a breathless review of a concert in late 2019, “being hit by the world’s most beautiful fist.”

That fist, pink-knuckled and beefy, sails across I Am Not a Dog on a Chain, starting at its title and traveling across its tracklist. (You see, the dog is Morrissey and the chain is society.) As with all documents by obsessives fixated on their targets, the album can be frequently ridiculous, mildly captivating, and occasionally repetitive, pocked by moments of goofiness that come from the runoff of a man eager to chase old miseries and find new ones to berate.

As if he could be anyone else, Morrissey is entirely Morrissey across the piece—relishing in characteristically aggro songwriting, taking decadent, hairpin turns from caustic to maudlin, and lyric sheets as funny and belligerent as the mind from which they flow. “Jim Jim Falls,” for instance, an electroclashy anthem about living life full-assed, climaxes sweetly with, “If you're gonna kill yourself, then for God's sake, just kill yourself.”

Moz regularly points out what he dislikes in the world, much of it tinted with a contemporariness that somehow already feels stale. In “What Kind of People Live in These Houses?”—a track posed as a rhetorical question, a favorite Moz device—we find a “duckface in a duplex,” those who “look at television thinking it's their window to the world,” and those who “don't know how to change.” Elsewhere, as in the hammy “Knockabout World,” the tone swerves from an invective on how big and irritating society can be into a standard-issue Morrissean plunge into deliciously saccharine romance: “Congratulations, you’re still OK. I’d kiss your lips off any day.” The effect is, after all these years, still charming.

Morrissey spends his time at odds with himself, unsure whether he is a decadent Wildean type, a devious free-thinker, or a shock dispensary here to alert the masses that their world is ugly, misshapen, and obscene. Nothing tires as quickly as shock. Some bits are wonderfully embarrassing: “Oh, maybe I'll be skinned alive...because of my views,” goes the title track, warningly, wincingly, waggingly. “Listen out for what’s not shown to you. And there you’ll find the truth.” Most songwriters dodge these tropes out of either decorum or boredom, but this is Moz’s vision of radical truth-telling.

Victim to the inner rash that grows in many writerly men over a certain age and of a certain mind, Moz’s existential chafe against the world is not without good company. “I’ve grown entirely comfortable in being both liked and disliked, adored and despised,” author Bret Easton Ellis writes halfway through White, a book-length treatise that asserts how much he doesn’t care about his public perception in the wake of tedious, performative, and inflammatory claims. Or, it’s like Michel Houellebecq, French enfant terrible and bestselling writer whose novels veer indefatigably provocative and more than a little Islamophobic. “If I am notorious,” he notes, “it is because other people have decided that this is how I should be.”

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The three men—American, French, and English—are kin in their infamy for one reason. It is an attitude that’s absolute, ancient, and marked by a peculiar, helpless assertiveness. The stuff of one who might, in any language, but in the same universally-understood shrug, note that they are “just being honest.”

But “just being honest” is both an indulgent and tendentious idea. In reality, Morrissey would like you to know that he is still here, that his lifelong bile has not yet settled, and that his refusal to fall into wimpish modern orthodoxies remains unscathed. One has the right to nag—it’s part of the unspoken artistic birthright to provoke—and bitterness isn’t even necessarily unattractive. But Morrissey’s bitterness is firm and stolid, an adamance to self-righteousness that creates a moral and aesthetic compass by which to navigate a system that—as he wails in “Knockabout World,” the second single—turned him “into a public target.”

In his fat, florid autobiography—hilariously published directly on Penguin Classics, a literary imprint that doesn’t normally canonize living authors—Moz describes a passion for the early punk band the New York Dolls as an ultimate and totalizing sum of everything he wanted to embody, both as performer and as a body. “Their eyes are indifferent,” he writes. “They have left the order of this world." His admiration comes from their strange way of floating out of space, out of time, out of care—a freedom to exist entirely on their own terms. Morrissey, whose eyes are far from indifferent, has managed to achieve the total opposite: He has become exceptionally of this world.


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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Morrissey - I Am Not a Dog On a Chain Music Album Reviews Morrissey - I Am Not a Dog On a Chain Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, April 02, 2020 Rating:

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