You Are the Quarry

You Are the Quarry

4.4 5
by Morrissey
     
 

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Morrissey has been biting his tongue for the past seven years -- You Are the Quarry is his first new disc since 1997's Maladjusted -- so you know he's got plenty of bile to spit out on this long-awaited, rock-centric album. He sounds renewed and revitalized on what can only be described as a kinetic comeback. As always, his

Overview

Morrissey has been biting his tongue for the past seven years -- You Are the Quarry is his first new disc since 1997's Maladjusted -- so you know he's got plenty of bile to spit out on this long-awaited, rock-centric album. He sounds renewed and revitalized on what can only be described as a kinetic comeback. As always, his clever wordplay and swooning songs coat the bitter pill, as does the amped-up, guitar-centric production from Jerry Finn (Blink 182, Green Day). Morrissey's as acerbic as ever when lashing out at his new home ("America / Your head's too big," he begins his tirade on the elegiac "America Is Not the World," before concluding "I love you"), as he is when lashing out against his native land ("I've been dreaming of a time when / To be English / Is not to be baneful / To be standing by the flag not feeling / Shameful, racist or partial," he laments atop a mountain of careening guitars on "Irish Blood, English Heart"). No surprise to fans of the Mozzer, the disc is chock-full of lines to pore over (have fun with "I Have Forgiven Jesus"), but it's also musically diverse enough to sustain interest without the lyric booklet. He sketches a contemplative tone on "Come Back to Camden," couched in nimble piano and billowing strings, and on the swooning almost-love song "Let Me Kiss You," gilded by a gorgeous vocal refrain. Ringing guitars echo his anger on "How Can Anybody Possibly Know how I Feel?," and "You Know I Couldn't Last" alternates delicate moments with glammy power chords and pounding drums. While a few production flourishes detract from Moz's singular vision (did "I'm Not Sorry" really need that flute bit?), the crunchy guitars and towering sonics largely serve a songwriter and singer who continues to astound, confound, and resound with the truth of the maladjusted loner's life.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
At his core, Morrissey has always been conservative -- not in his politics, of course, but in how he romanticizes the past and plays by the rules of a different time. His passions, whether it's the New York Dolls or '60s British cinema, exist out of time, and he's gone to great lengths to ensure that his music also can't be pinned to a particular era, which means all his solo albums share similar musical and theatrical traits, and they're subject to the whims of fashion. In the years following the Smiths, he could rarely set a foot wrong, but sometime after releasing his best solo album, Your Arsenal, in 1992, the British music press turned on him and he was not much better than a pariah during the mid-'90s heyday of Brit-pop, the very time that he should have been celebrated as one of the great figures of British pop music, particularly since the Smiths inspired every band of note, from Suede and Blur to Oasis and Pulp. By the time he released Maladjusted in the summer of 1997, he was a forgotten legend, not even given approval of his album art, and instead of cranking out records to the diehards, he chose to move to Los Angeles and wait out the storm. He stayed quiet for seven years. During that time, fashions changed again, as they're prone to do, as Brit-pop turned toward the sullen art rock of Radiohead and Coldplay, the mainstream filled up with teen pop, and American rock music was either stuck in the death throes of grunge and punk-pop or in emo's heart-on-sleeve caterwauling, which owed no little debt to Mozzer's grandly theatric introspection in the Smiths. Instead of being seen as a has-been, as he had been in the latter half of the '90s, Morrissey was seen as a giant, name checked by artists as diverse as Ryan Adams and OutKast, so the time was ripe for a comeback. But Morrissey had waited long enough to do it on his terms, rejecting major labels for Sanctuary (on the condition that they revive the reggae imprint Attack Records) and recording You Are the Quarry with his longtime touring band, with producer Jerry Finn, best-known for his work with neo-punk bands blink-182, Sum 41, and Green Day. Finn's presence suggests that Morrissey might be changing or modernizing his sound, designing a large-scale comeback, but that runs contrary to his character. Apart from some subtleties -- the glam on Your Arsenal, the gentleness on Vauxhall and I, the prog rock on Southpaw Grammar -- he's worked the same territory ever since Viva Hate, and there's no reason for him to change now. And he doesn't. There are no surprises on You Are the Quarry. It delivers all the trademark wit, pathos, and surging mid-tempo guitar anthems that have been his stock-in-trade since the beginning of his solo career. It's not so much a return to form as it is a simple return, Morrissey picking up where he left off with Maladjusted, improving on that likeable album with a stronger set of songs and more muscular music (even if no single is as indelible as "Alma Matters"). If You Are the Quarry had been delivered in 1999, it would have been written off as more of the same, but since it's coming out at the end of a seven-year itch, he's back in fashion, so its reception is very warm. Frankly, it's nice to have his reputation restored, but that oversells the album, suggesting that it's either a breakthrough or a comeback when it's neither. It's merely a very good Morrissey album, living up to his legacy without expanding it greatly. But after such a long wait, that's more than enough.
Rolling Stone - James Hunter
1/2 The songs are top-shelf.... You Are the Quarry is a triumph of maladjusted vitality.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/30/2008
Label:
Imports
UPC:
5050749300126
catalogNumber:
901030
Rank:
36835

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You Are the Quarry 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard the album, and I must say this is the best work he's done since "The Queen is Dead" when he was with The Smiths. Come Back to Camden is the best song on the album, and IBEH is a brilliant single. Any Morrissey fan will most definately want to pick this up, and it could convert some new fans as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After all these years -since the '97 'Maladjusted' Morrissey returns, and is better than ever. The most memorable songs are 'America Is Not The World', 'Irish Blood English Heart', 'Come Back to Camden', 'I'm Not Sorry' and 'First of the Gang To Die'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent CD- every song is great- especially America is not the world. Morrissey still completely has it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love "Irish Blood, English Heart"! The guitars sound so cool! I heard the song on my local rock station, and I thought, "Morrissey still has it!"
Guest More than 1 year ago
this cd is pretty darn good. I wouldnt say it is his best album, but it is very good. Vauxhaul and I is definately still one of his best. But this one is pretty good. One thing that did disappoint me was that most of his songs are some kind of protest or message. Its okay to mix beliefs and music sometimes but i think that in this case he shouldnt have. mixing politics and music is irretating and stupid.