"I Am Not A Dog On A Chain" released (March 20, 2020)




I Am Not A Dog On A Chain - tagged articles
I Am Not A Dog On A Chain - tagged reviews
Please note: for fans of reviews, the above tag will update as new reviews come in and is a good way to check any you may have missed.

Morrissey's 13th solo studio album being recorded was first mentioned in SER's interview with Morrissey June 24, 2019 and then formally announced November 28, 2019.
It was recorded at Studio La Fabrique in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France and additional work (like Thelma's vocals) was done at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California. It was produced by Joe Chicarelli who stated about his 4th Morrissey album:

“This is his boldest and most adventurous album yet. He has pushed the boundaries yet again - both musically and lyrically.
And once again proving that as a songwriter and singer, he is in his own category.
In truth, no one can be Morrissey but… Morrissey!”



The official Morrissey mailing list email from March 20 cites the following reviews in its promotion:

"PRAISE FOR ‘I AM NOT A DOG ON A CHAIN’

“Morrissey delivers his best music in years” - AP*
"His best album in years." - NME
"As great as anything he has ever written." - THE TELEGRAPH
“A mature work, the album stands apart in his catalog, displaying a hard-fought air of confidence that defies his roots in misery.” - RIFF MAGAZINE
"Hungry, tenacious & valid" - XS Noise
“Arguably his strongest collection in years.” - Louder Than War Magazine
"Ideal quarantine record.” - The Post Millennial
“An 11 track outing which quite frankly is one of his best albums to date... it sees him in fine form, with witty and acerbic lyrics, and a rich baritone voice that appears to be actually getting stronger the older he gets." -
Wall Of Sound"

(*AP = Associated Press)


Album promotional poster (Leeds):

3c80900419accc97158bc74145066b79[1].jpg

( :camera: clever.swine / IG)

The main 3 formats available today:
(Clear vinyl, 'Test Presses" & cassettes haven't been sighted yet).

f55969f63b43918bf06e1c095d9a8b78[1].jpg

( :camera: Denisc1 / IG)

There is no matrix message on either version of the above vinyl.

The front cover art is credited, again, to Liam Lynch (using an image by Christopher Stewart of Morrissey at Manchester G-MEX, December 22, 2006).
The rear cover is by John Fekner and is described on his site as:

"In the summer of 1980, John Fekner stencils Broken Promises, Falsas Promesas, Decay, Broken Treaties, Last Hope and Save Our School on the walls and buildings of Charlotte Street in the South Bronx. The message of the Charlotte Street Stencils focuses on pointing out the deteriorating conditions and issues that plagued the community since the 1960s. Fekner’s main purpose is to bring attention to inadequate housing, poor services and deplorable social problems that afflicted the neighborhood residents for decades."

unnamed.jpg

For a gallery of this project and further details - please see: here.

For the liner notes and lyrics - see: here.

The initial assertion that the red vinyl was 'indie' record shops only changed later to include HMV - who are selling all 3 formats above.

More reviews are expected and please see the tag link to follow them as they come in.

Regards,
FWD.
 

Eraserhead

Accept Myself
Jim Jim Falls is one catchy tune. But rejecting sympathy for the suicidal? The antithesis of Joke Isn't Funny Anymore? (and the rest) What does he mean?
I see this song as a possible retort from a listener of Morrissey’s work. His constant griping about loneliness and doom. If you’re gonna sing then sing...don’t go on about it...if you’re gonna kill yourself just do it....etc.
 

Eraserhead

Accept Myself
Never post on here, but gotta say - What Kind of People Live in These Houses, is just fantastic

can't get this anywhere else

feel so lucky
Sounds like something from Strangeways.....which is the ultimate praise.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
I see this song as a possible retort from a listener of Morrissey’s work. His constant griping about loneliness and doom. If you’re gonna sing then sing...don’t go on about it...if you’re gonna kill yourself just do it....etc.
I think it’s a protest song—against procrastination.

I consider it a continuation of ‘Action is my Middle Name’; especially the sentiment...

“Action is my middle name
I can't waste time anymore
Everybody has a date with an undertaker
A date that they cannot break”
 

Eraserhead

Accept Myself
I think it’s a protest song—against procrastination.

I consider it a continuation of ‘Action is my Middle Name’; especially the sentiment...

“Action is my middle name
I can't waste time anymore
Everybody has a date with an undertaker
A date that they cannot break”
Whereas I see Action is my middle name as a sarcastic condemnation of someone’s (Morrissey’s) inability to chase after love or desire, out of ineptitude.
 
D

Deleted member 25370

Guest
jjf as a cautionary tale?

whereas i first listened to jjf as being about the rejection of a suicidal person, i now think it is more or less a comical cautionary tale.

someone, who has never learned irregular verbs thoroughly enough, was on a canoe trip at jjf where he fell in love with another canoeist close to the actual waterfall. he fooled around to impress the other person and tried to get into her/his canoe, even though nobody had asked him to, and then unfortunately was flushed down the waterfall.

he survived to warn the younger even more reckless generation who wanna perform bungee jumpin acts for the same reason as the older generation.

the only line that wouldnt fit this interpretion is "if you wanna sing..."
personally, i think it was added to hint at a more metaphorical understanding of the song, plus, to satisfy those listeners with a more limited, autobiographical approach.

anyways, great song with many layers and facets to choose from.

 
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Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
jjf as a cautionary tale?

whereas i first listened to jjf as being about the rejection of a suicidal person, i now think it is more or less a comical cautionary tale.

someone, who has never learned irregular verbs thoroughly enough, was on a canoe trip at jjf where he fell in love with another canoeist close to the actual waterfall. he fooled around to impress the other person and tried to get into her/his canoe, even though nobody had asked him to, and then unfortunately was flushed down the waterfall.

he survived to warn the younger even more reckless generation who wanna perform bungee jumpin acts for the same reason as the older generation.

the only line that wouldnt fit this interpretion is "if you wanna sing..."
personally, i think it was added to hint at a more metaphorical understanding of the song, plus, to satisfy those listeners with a more limited, autobiographical approach.

anyways, great song with many layers and facets to choose from.

I’ve just listened to the song, whilst reading your interpretation. Frighteningly, it actually fits. I’m now off to find Jim Jim Falls on the map.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Sounds like something from Strangeways.....which is the ultimate praise.
I love it but it reminds me of Viva Hate/ Bona Drag solo Moz...some of the words & rhymes he uses in this song are just hilarious & fantastic at the same time...great combination!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I think it’s a protest song—against procrastination.

I consider it a continuation of ‘Action is my Middle Name’; especially the sentiment...

“Action is my middle name
I can't waste time anymore
Everybody has a date with an undertaker
A date that they cannot break”
Love Action, still cant believe it never made it onto an album proper, it would've been a great single as that chorus soars!!!
 
M

Musician

Guest
Even as a non-native speaker, JJF is quite obvious to me. The narrator visits Jim Jim Falls, admits he falls in love etc, but the chorus changes person and it's the falls itself responding "ok I get it Moz, but if you wanna live, then live, if you wanna kill yourself, get on with it"
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
Even as a non-native speaker, JJF is quite obvious to me. The narrator visits Jim Jim Falls, admits he falls in love etc, but the chorus changes person and it's the falls itself responding "ok I get it Moz, but if you wanna live, then live, if you wanna kill yourself, get on with it"
That makes sense, especially given Jim Jim Falls is a ‘plunge waterfall’ In Australia. Am I the last to know this?
 

Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
So: the old codger has managed to release a halfway-decent album (best thing since Quarry imho). After an initial listen on YouTube:

The standout song is "Once I Saw the River Clean" which is just wonderful; sounds like a lost Marc Almond tune.

Everything else is varying degrees of decent/good, with the exception of "Darling I Hug a Pillow" which is unlistenable, and "The Secret of Music" which goes nowhere fast.

The greatest strength is his voice, which is still magnificent. The greatest weakness are the lyrics, which are the tattered remnants of his former glory.

The album art is... inexplicably pathetic.
 

mcrickson

Reckless Endangerment
jjf as a cautionary tale?

whereas i first listened to jjf as being about the rejection of a suicidal person, i now think it is more or less a comical cautionary tale.

someone, who has never learned irregular verbs thoroughly enough, was on a canoe trip at jjf where he fell in love with another canoeist close to the actual waterfall. he fooled around to impress the other person and tried to get into her/his canoe, even though nobody had asked him to, and then unfortunately was flushed down the waterfall.

he survived to warn the younger even more reckless generation who wanna perform bungee jumpin acts for the same reason as the older generation.

the only line that wouldnt fit this interpretion is "if you wanna sing..."
personally, i think it was added to hint at a more metaphorical understanding of the song, plus, to satisfy those listeners with a more limited, autobiographical approach.

anyways, great song with many layers and facets to choose from.

I'm not saying your interpretation doesn't fit. I'm just doubting Morrissey premeditated it. His lyrical process seems to fall into a formula these days:
  • Talk about love, falling in love, the one you love.
  • Talk about singing, the voice.
  • The most thinly-veiled reference to a sex act known to man.
  • Something about the media, or how all people are the same but Morrissey is smarter than them.
  • Crack open a thesaurus and use the very last entry for the word you're riffing on.
"River Clean" was a surprising and welcome exception to this.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
So: the old codger has managed to release a halfway-decent album (best thing since Quarry imho). After an initial listen on YouTube:

The standout song is "Once I Saw the River Clean" which is just wonderful; sounds like a lost Marc Almond tune.

Everything else is varying degrees of decent/good, with the exception of "Darling I Hug a Pillow" which is unlistenable, and "The Secret of Music" which goes nowhere fast.

The greatest strength is his voice, which is still magnificent. The greatest weakness are the lyrics, which are the tattered remnants of his former glory.

The album art is... inexplicably pathetic.
The last minute of ‘Darling ...’ is sublime.

‘The Secret of Music’ is the weakest track, for me too, but it fits well into the whole album. It wouldn’t be welcomed, by me, in a concert context. So I fully expect it to become the set centrepiece, for the next tour.
 

Cooley

New Member
Am I the only one here who thinks ‘Bobby’ is a fantastic tune ruined by the shrieking bird? Someone should have told her that less is more.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
Am I the only one here who thinks ‘Bobby’ is a fantastic tune ruined by the shrieking bird? Someone should have told her that less is more.
Given that many of the additional vocal contributions to California Son were so far back in the mix (to the extent that they were barely audible), one might say he’s gone from the sublime to the ridiculous with ‘Bobby ...’.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
I'm not saying your interpretation doesn't fit. I'm just doubting Morrissey premeditated it. His lyrical process seems to fall into a formula these days:
  • Talk about love, falling in love, the one you love.
  • Talk about singing, the voice.
  • The most thinly-veiled reference to a sex act known to man.
  • Something about the media, or how all people are the same but Morrissey is smarter than them.
  • Crack open a thesaurus and use the very last entry for the word you're riffing on.
"River Clean" was a surprising and welcome exception to this.
I think, with ‘River Clean...’, by dwelling on memories he has reconnected with the context that made him. So the song readily recalls the world of The Smiths. I’d imagine that’s something he has to do sparingly, otherwise he risks not being believable, or (worse) patronising.

Love, sex, music and animal rights are topics which transcend an obvious economic/lifestyle divide that now exists between himself and his audience. And yet I’d agree Morrissey remains at his most poignant when addressing the working class world he emerged from; even when that seems to come further to a survey that’s done from the comfort of a limo, or an aeroplane (as with ‘What Kind of People Live in these Houses?’). Or from the recall of a now distant prosaic memory.
 
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D

Deleted member 25370

Guest
I'm not saying your interpretation doesn't fit. I'm just doubting Morrissey premeditated it. His lyrical process seems to fall into a formula these days:
  • Talk about love, falling in love, the one you love.
  • Talk about singing, the voice.
  • The most thinly-veiled reference to a sex act known to man.
  • Something about the media, or how all people are the same but Morrissey is smarter than them.
  • Crack open a thesaurus and use the very last entry for the word you're riffing on.
"River Clean" was a surprising and welcome exception to this.
quite a long list of leitmotifs that you have there. more, and definitely more interesting, than the ordinary "hormonally challenged dumbo calling for warm pussy" and the inescapable "you are the greatest guy that makes me all hot, f*** me now"- answer, we have all grown tired of.

i can see that you prefer the "easter egg" approach. morrissey premeditates something and it is your job to find it. yeah, okay, better than the horribly tedious "autobiographical approach" preferred by folks who will never learn to differentiate between voice and writer. not saying it is wrong, but there is more in life than just that.

i am more of an audience-response disciple. i am an active and free agent in the interaction with the work of art and my interpretationS(!) complete it. i add meaning to the song because i am not a dog on morrissey's chain. i have my own brain. i mean, if morrissey said that jjf was all about his relationship to his father which made him all suicidal due to a lack of his support, i could accept it, but i prefer to paddle my own canoe. that's much more exciting.
 
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