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Ears & Fingers 7/17/14

by Jason Leger

Morrissey-World Peace is None of Your Business
You know that friend or acquaintance you have whom you love to be around and interact with because they have the capability of being an ass, so that makes you feel like a nicer person? No? I don’t either. But if I did, I would view them in the same light as I view Morrissey. He is famously self-absorbed and someone we will always love because of his music and hate because of his attitude. Though I have loved The Smiths for as long as I can remember, the leap to loving Morrissey’s solo work was a long one. It was actually just two years ago that I thought to myself, ‘There has to be something I’m missing.’ So I undertook listening to “Bona Drag” on repeat for several days, which led me to several other albums and a full blown appreciation.

“World Peace is None of Your Business” is Morrissey’s 10th solo album and first in five years. Most of Morrissey’s solo work interweaves tales of morose characters, political bombast and introspection that is often sharper than one would expect from a person with such blunt confidence. “World Peace” is, if nothing else, aurally confusing. It’s full of anthemic gestures, pop weirdness and that voice we will never get away from. The album bounces around so much thematically and musically that it becomes hard to keep up at some points. In all honesty, for a man who loves to keep the general public guessing, I would be willing to bet this is the exact reaction Morrissey was hoping for. Three singles were released from the album prior to the streaming of the entire work last week. I see the strongest being ‘Istanbul,’ as it’s honest in its approach as a bare bones Morrissey song. Some of the other tracks, like ‘Earth is the Loneliest Planet’ or ‘The Bullfighter Dies’ develop in more of a world music sense but are stamped, or perhaps dusted, with Morrissey’s distinctly characterized persona. The introspective tracks seem to find Morrissey experiencing (could it be?) doubt, or at least confusion upon being an aging rock icon and what that means in the grand scheme. To be honest, when you’re Morrissey that probably means quite a bit, but age doesn’t always make great records, and all in all “World Peace” is not his best or his worst. If you’re already a Morrissey fan, this is more than worth picking up. However, if you’re just beginning to dive in, allow me to direct you back to “Bona Drag” or “Viva Hate.” “World Peace is None of Your Business” is out now via Harvest Records.

Track of the Week:
Death from Above 1979-Trainwreck 1979
The news of an impending album from the previously defunct Death from Above 1979 was worrisome for me. During their short career, they produced one album, 2004’s “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine,” and it was absolute dance-punk perfection. The duo announced a reunion in 2011 and played a few festivals, which really gave me no need for concern, until the upcoming album, “The Physical World,” was announced last month. Last week, the band unveiled the lead single ‘Trainwreck 1979’ and it kind of made me wonder why I was so concerned. It sounds like the band never stopped recording or making music together. They haven’t missed a proverbial beat. The song is frenetic and bass-driven, as to be expected, and hopefully serves as a foretaste of the entire album. You can check out the song on YouTube or get it immediately with a pre-order on iTunes. “The Physical World” is out Sept. 9 via Last Gang.