The Telegraph / Neil McCormick: Review of IANADOAC (4/5 - March 14, 2020)

Reproduced in full as a gated article:

By Neil McCormick.

Morrissey, I Am Not a Dog on a Chain, review: as great as anything he has ever written

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Morrissey at Leeds First Direct Arena, March 2020 CREDIT: KENNY BROWN.

"I do not read newspapers/ They are troublemakers,” Morrissey croons on the title track of his 13th solo album, I Am Not a Dog on a Chain. I guess he won’t be perusing the pages of The Telegraph to see how many stars have been awarded to his latest offering. Yet you don’t have to agree with his views on the media to applaud the passion with which he expresses them. What starts out like a sweet nursery-rhyme ditty builds to a spluttering explosion of righteous rage: “I raise my voice/ I have no choice/ I raise my hand, I hammer twice/ I see no point in being nice.” It is bracing stuff, beautifully delivered. At the age of 60, he is still making music as if his life depended upon it.

The underlying assertion of the album title, of course, is Morrissey’s right to express himself as he sees fit, and damn the begrudgers. His support for Right-wing political causes has created tension with fans who idealised his Eighties indie band the Smiths as liberal champions of the oppressed. Yet a streak of politically incorrect provocation has existed in Morrissey’s work since his earliest days and there is a suspicion that what might have seemed iconoclastic in a young man has come to be viewed as misanthropic for a mature artist.

Perhaps one of the reasons Morrissey gets into trouble is that he dares to embrace subjects rarely tackled in pop music. There are songs here that touch on: suicide (Jim Jim Falls); transsexualism (The Truth About Ruth); chastity (Darling, I Hug a Pillow); political despair (Love Is on Its Way Out); repressed homosexuality (Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know?); deeply personal family memories (I Saw the River Clean); and music as an antidote to depression (The Secret of Music). It is an album bursting with epigrammatic phrases, ridiculous rhymes, huge melodies and provocative opinions. The sound is brash and arresting. American producer Joe Chiccarelli (with whom Morrissey has worked since 2015) dials up the electronica, fusing synths with more familiar gothic rock and baroque elements, while Morrissey’s assured, inimitable voice glides airily above the mayhem.

Knockabout World is an anthem for the bullied that ends with a cheerful singalong of “You’re OK by me!” Yet he can switch from empathetic humanity to the mean-spirited trolling of What Kind of People Live in These Houses?, a jangling guitar romp delivered with the sneery judgmentalism of an angry prig (“What carpet chewer lights up this sewer?/ What dented gent bends over in this tent?”). Morrissey remains a deeply complicated character, parading his brittle psychology in song; you don’t have to like everything he creates to respect such absolute commitment to his art.

The album ends beautifully with My Hurling Days Are Done, a song as great as any he has ever written. “Time is no friend of mine,” he sings, sadly. Erstwhile fans who might prefer Morrissey to shut up and go away should be careful what they wish for.

I Am Not a Dog on a Chain is released by BMG on March 20"


Regards,
FWD.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
A good review! ?

He's getting back on track faster than I thought he would. Probably because apart from moaning about being punished for speaking (which, to be fair, is true), it's not got any particularly right wing elements to it. And freedom of speech shouldn't be right-wing anyway. It should be liberal-left.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Laughable. Heap praise on someone giving a good review. Release the hounds on those that don't.
Maybe the best approach is to take every review with a pinch of salt and decide for yourself when you hear the album and have listened to it a few times. But if you hate Moz and his music so much then all the reviews should be incidental and of not much interest to you.
 

NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH
[personal information removed] : “it’s all over for Morrissey” (2010.2011.2012.2013.2014.2015.2016.2017.2018.2019.2020)
 
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Lawrence

Back in the day browser (since November 1997)
An intriguing album. Make no doubt. I’ve listened to it 3 times. That’s more than I did to LIHS which felt lazy, forced and tired to me. He’s had to pull out the stops with this one. The lyrics grate in places, with none of the warmth, hope and humanity that underpinned the misanthropy he doled out at will previously.
A return to form? In places. The over-reliance on synths may age the album 5-10 years down the line, but he seems to have been coaxed out of himself, which makes for interesting listening throughout. An improvement upon the previous? Yes. Of sorts. If he dispatches the “Yes” folk on his books, there’s potential for at least one or two better albums to come. But I suspect he’ll no doubt squander what good will remains out there.
Morrissey remains the contrarian’s contrarian, regardless of the consequences. A grower.

P.S. - Favourite new track: ‘Once I Saw The River Clean’. Synths and “Oirish” fiddle give it a Big Country vibe which shouldn’t really work, but somehow does.
 
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ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Today I've heard the full studio album and I would give it 4 out of 5. I love the first half and the 4th quarter. That's just one listen. There is a lot going on with various instruments and background electronica so it should enfold even more on multiple listens. Possibly his best album since Ringleader. Moz takes chances and most of them work. Favourite songs so far: Jim Jim Falls, Bobby, I Am Not A Dog On A Chain, My hurling days are done.
 
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snoddywilko

Well-Known Member
Peter finan : “it’s all over for Morrissey” (2010.2011.2012.2013.2014.2015.2016.2017.2018.2019.2020)

Is this how long his futile hate-campaign has been raging?

Could somebody tell me what was the final straw that disappointed Peter Finan in his chosen father-figure so badly & caused this mentally-Ill outpouring of daily vitriol?
 

NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH
Is this how long his futile hate-campaign has been raging?

Could somebody tell me what was the final straw that disappointed Peter Finan in his chosen father-figure so badly & caused this mentally-Ill outpouring of daily vitriol?
Started going bald?
 

NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Is this how long his futile hate-campaign has been raging?

Could somebody tell me what was the final straw that disappointed Peter Finan in his chosen father-figure so badly & caused this mentally-Ill outpouring of daily vitriol?
When he shacked up with Damon :p
 
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Morrissey_Sucks

Active Member
Due to his right wing political statements, the album will chart lower than any of his before. Maybe will make the top 10 in the uk for a week and will fall out of the top 40 the next week. Won’t chart in the top 40 and likely not the top 100 in the USA. Will sell 10.000 copies worldwide in week one, if lucky. Too bad since the reviews over all have been positive. But his political statements have ruined him and he deserves what he gets.

The old fans at the recent tour dates are there for nostalgia and most won’t stream the album, let alone buy it.
 

bhops

Last of the famous international screw ups.
Re. Drug using/repressed homosexuality on Bobby, I always assumed it was about both. A repressed gay man addicted to narcotics as a coping mechanism.
 
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