Morrissey World Peace Is None of Your Business
It has become harder to defend Morrissey from the usual vilification, given his umpteen tour cancellations—with which we Las Vegans are painfully familiar—and headline-making insufferableness. To do so nearly risks the same social estrangement the man himself has been eloquently harrumphing about over four decades.
And then he releases an album like World Peace Is None of Your Business, and fan apologia becomes vindication. Morrissey’s output is slightly less inconsistent than his onstage attendance, but World Peace is a stunner, on par with previous triumphs Your Arsenal, Vauxhall & I and Ringleader of the Tormentors.
And its main highlight is not Morrissey’s voice, aging much more gracefully than the man behind it, but a boundary-pushing backing band and producer (Joe Chiccarelli). Longtime musical director/co-writer Boz Boorer incorporates a multitude of styles on the irresistible “Kiss Me a Lot,” his own riffing complemented by atmospheric ephemera and trumpeted Latin pomp, the resulting Spectorian pop tsunami all but forcing Morrissey’s smitten delivery. And after Chiccarelli deftly utilizes keyboardist Gustavo Manzur, Boorer’s rockabilly romanticism—along with Matt Walker’s steady kickdrum—leads the charge on “I’m Not a Man,” which eventually crescendos somewhat similarly to 1994 fan fave “Speedway.”
On that song, Morrissey skewers modern masculinity, emboldened by the muscularity behind him—a phenomenon he repeats during the Beat-like cadences of “Neal Cassady Drops Dead” and the heartbreaking narrative of “Istanbul.” Occasionally, where the band shows maturity and vitality, Moz retreats to adolescence and thematic retread (see “Earth Is the Loneliest Planet”). Still, his social estrangement can’t overshadow how artistically engaged he sounds 10 albums in.