Oh Morrissey, you were once a star that shined so bright. Even after years of questionable statements about varying races and groups of people, you still had a fairly loyal fan base. In the seven years between Maladjusted and You Are The Quarry, you said very little and things seemed okay. But just as many people who are stuck in another time, your words began to overshadow the music. It’s been sixteen years since You Are The Quarry was released and the bulk of the music released in that time frame has been good. Even the covers album from last year California Son was better than expected. But just like how Low in High School was bizarre, the new album I AM NOT A DOG ON A CHAIN is pretty bad and vulgar, even coming from a guy who defended Harvey Weinstein.
And you see, that’s the problem. The album isn’t bad because it’s primarily electronic infused. It’s bad because the twisted shit that Morrissey used to say on chat shows has trickled down into his lyrics. The music feels rehashed from another era and it’s not even inventive in its approach. The three pre-release singles show almost no glimmer of hope here. It’s an album that if it weren’t for a public relations company, I wouldn’t know of its existence. The electronics are boring and uninspired. The opening song “Jim Jim Falls” sounds like something that even The prodigy would’ve tossed aside twenty years ago. The upbeat sounds of the title track never really get interesting, it just plays out. Maybe that’s the point, that we pay attention to the lyrics. But even the words are bullshit. “I do not read newspapers, they are troublemakers.” Morrissey wants to convince us that he’s not lead by a giant ego. But anyone who’s seen his demands for performing a concert can tell you otherwise.
But fraudulent lyrics and cheesy arrangements aren’t the reason the album is shit. The album is just boring. If you didn’t place it on, you wouldn’t know that it was playing. None of the songs are memorable, including the strongest of the eleven tracks “What Kind of People Live in These Houses?” While the song has shining points, the song really just reworks old Moz themes. And while we could ponder the meaning of “Darling, I Hug a Pillow,” or wonder what inspired “The Secret of Music,” there’s little reason to do so. Morrissey has finally released an album that sounds about as relevant as his backwards opinions. However, Morrissey is so irrelevant that he’s relegated to a residency in Las Vegas that he won’t get to play because of the Corona Virus. But at least he’ll have a valid excuse for cancelling this time.
I AM NOT A DOG ON A CHAIN is available to purchase directly from BMG Records on multiple formats. It can be streamed on all streaming sites or purchased in all digital outlets wherever you download music.
Image Credits: Photo by Jake Walters.