The title of Morrisseyâ€šÃ„Ã´s ninth solo album, Years of Refusal, could refer to any number of things: his refusal to be a puppet of the music industry, a beguiling commentary on his famous refusal to tell all about his sexuality, or maybe even his refusal to reform the Smiths? Conjecture is left to the audience as always. His prolific catalogue has always been one large think piece full of punch lines, boosted by a gifted back-up band, including longtime collaborator Boz Boorer. The newest album exemplifies the best of Morrisseyâ€šÃ„Ã´s trademarks, his ability to craft droll turns of phrase with layered meaning. The lyrics, ushered in by stalwart guitars, mostly focus on a lovelorn past and impermanent life. Recently deceased, pop-punk producer Jerry Finn added crisp musical facets to the album, especially with the use of flamenco brass on â€šÃ„ÃºWhen I Last Spoke To Carol.â€šÃ„Ã¹ There are an abundance of hooks such as with single â€šÃ„ÃºIâ€šÃ„Ã´m Throwing My Arms Around Paris.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The vocal melodies also have unexpected shadings in numbers like â€šÃ„ÃºMama Lay Softly On The Riverbedâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and the heart-wrenching â€šÃ„ÃºItâ€šÃ„Ã´s Not Your Birthday Anymore,â€šÃ„Ã¹ the latter of which is positively resplendent with clarinet and brash cymbals. Another surprise appears on â€šÃ„ÃºBlack Cloud,â€šÃ„Ã¹ featuring a guest guitar solo from Jeff Beck. The last few tracks wane in momentum compared to the rest of Refusalâ€šÃ„Ã´s sinew, but the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s overall tenor is at once emotive and tempestuous musically and lyrically, cementing its sonic power.
Morrissey has a vocation as a musical artist, poet and humorist, at which he is typically exceptional. Years of Refusal provides enough evidence of this. In â€šÃ„ÃºAll You Need Is Me,â€šÃ„Ã¹ Morrissey addresses his listeners and critics on the paradoxical nature of fame with, â€šÃ„ÃºYou donâ€šÃ„Ã´t like me/but you love me/either way youâ€šÃ„Ã´re wrong/youâ€šÃ„Ã´re gonna miss me when Iâ€šÃ„Ã´m gone.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Indeed, he certainly will be missed the â€šÃ„Ãºone day goodbye will be farewell.â€šÃ„Ã¹