Morrissey – You Are the Quarry – Review


You Are the Quarry (Attack/Sanctuary)
by Tim Den

Do a Google search for You Are the Quarry, and you’re bound to find all sorts of analysis/denouncements/praises of the man’s latest work. Which means I’m not about to waste your time (and mine) addressing Morrissey‘s cult-like status, aesthetic genius, and/or choice of producer (Jerry Finn, who gives You Are the Quarry a blinding shine). We all know the background, the stranger-than-fiction life, the way his fans hang onto his every word, so let’s just get down to the nitty gritty.

You Are the Quarry is, as accusations have barked, the most polished, mainstream-sounding, and “poppy” album of Morrissey’s career. But so what? Do sonic pleasantries automatically equal bad songs? Hells no, for You Are the Quarry contains some of the man’s best, from the very Suede-ish “The World is Full of Crashing Bores” to the jangly romp of “First of the Gang to Die” and “Irish Heart, English Blood.” His voice is a resonating cave, full of body and delicious mystery, achingly imploring you to purge your pain through its melodies. Like many have stated before, Morrissey sings of existential oblivion so the rest of us don’t have to. And nowhere is this truer than on the album’s highlight, the theater-worthy tragedy of “I Have Forgiven Jesus.” Amidst a thumping, minor-key drag, Morrissey asks the Almighty “why did you give me so much desire/when there’s nowhere I can go to offload this desire?/why did you give me so much love in a loveless world?/why did you stick me in self-deprecating bones and skin/Jesus, do you hate me?” The sentiment, flowing through the veins of its brooding/dramatic music counterpart, hits so close to home that one can’t help but admit conquer in its face. I have forgiven Morrissey for making me a slave to his every move.

On other tracks, Morrissey juggles pomposity and self-hatred as only he can, taking a step back for every wad of spit he propels. On opener “America is Not the World,” he tears Uncle Sam a new one and then swears his love. On “The World is Full of Crashing Bores,” he’s quick to add “but I must be one/cuz no one ever turns to me to say ‘take me in your arms.'” And the fact that his phrasing and weaving melodies emphasize the syllables just right makes it oh so very hard to hate his smartass-ness. Cuz you’re too busy being swept off your feet by the elegant display of swoons and strings!

You Are the Quarry might not be his best solo work to date, but it certainly satiates any Morrissey (and pop) lover’s need for amplified misery and ear-melting balladry. I, for one, am willing to wait another seven years if his next album is as good as this.