Morrissey
You Are the Quarry


3.5
great

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
January 16th, 2005 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


Morrissey - You Are The Quarry
Released 2004.
Attack Records.

The impact of You Are The Quarry is an interesting thing to look at. Since its release, Morrissey has become an elder stateman of British rock. He has been voted one of the greatest musical icons of all time (Q), one of the most powerful figures in music now (Q), and has been adopted as the ultimate tastemaker (NME). He was allowed to pick the lineup for one of the days at the Carling Weekender, leading to his beloved New York Dolls getting public exposure for the first time in years. And his patronage now seems to be a gaurentee of success (look no further than Franz Ferdinand, The Ordinary Boys, and The Libertines).

It's no exaggeration to say that's all directly come from the release of You Are The Quarry. Before it, Morrissey was a spent force. After peaking on Your Arsenal, his records (or rather, the critical reception to them) had got progressively worse and worse. It had been 7 years since his last record, and Morrissey's solo career was remembered cheifly as a vaguely interesting extension to the story of The Smiths.

Then, in late 2003, hype began to grow. Word on the street was that Morrissey had a new album ready. Such is the nature of their music that The Smiths had tens of thousands of fans, at least, who never even realised Mozza had a solo career. For everyone else, it'd been long enough now for them to forget about albums like Kill Uncle. Expectation was mounting to the point where it was comparable with Paul Weller's return in the mid-90s, after he was declared the king of Brit-pop.

Then, the single. Irish Blood, English Heart, it was called, and it was fantastic. The naysayers were silenced. The 'spent force' had just released one of the best singles of the 21st century. Even people who had hated The Smiths since day 1 were interested now. This was a new Morrissey - fritty, vital, powerful, and as relevant as he had been 20 years ago. 'The Queen Is Dead' had been described as 'God Save The Queen' for indie kids. Irish Blood, English Heart trumped it, and even Johnny Rotten, fresh from his stint in the jungle, must have been impressed.

And so, You Are The Quarry was released. Amusingly, it was released on Attack Records - making it the first ever truly 'indie' album Morrissey has ever appeared on. The man himself was pictured on the front, looking every bit the refined gentleman; and tellingly, he was holding a tommy gun. This was all a symbol of what the album was to contain- Morrissey settling into the elder statesman role whilst, it seemed, gunning down everyone who stood in his way - from America, to journalists, to Oliver Cromwell.

Perhaps that was the problem all along. With The Smiths, Morrissey had written anthems of alienation and emotional confusion. Great as those songs were, they're still very tied to a teenage audience. How could Morrissey keep writing them now he was approaching 40? To be fair, he often made a decent job of it (he even does here, with I Like You), and it's still an undercurrent (most clearly on I Have Forgiven Jesus). But here, he's finally got something to say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Blood, English Heart
Irish blood, English heart
This I'm made of
There is no-one on Earth I'm afraid of
And no regime can buy or sell me

I've been dreaming of a time when
To be English
Is not to be baneful
To be standing by the flag not feeling shameful,
Racist or partial.

Irish blood, English heart
This I'm made of
There is no one on earth I'm afraid of
And I will die with both of my hands untied

I've been dreaming of a time when
The English are sick to death of Labour, And Tories
And spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell
And denounce this royal line that still salute him
And will salute him forever
One thing that's become clear since Morrissey's comeback is the British indie scene's search for an identity. It's not for nothing that the opener here is called America Is Not The World, and the single declared he had an English heart. There's an element of irony in the fact that Morrissey actually lives in America, but we'll overlook that. England has, for a while now, lacked an identity of its own; such is the overbearing influence of America. Morrissey, through bands like The Ordinary Boys, has started something of a Nationalist revolution. This is at the core of what Morrissey has to say - it's the drive for an identity on the behalf of England and, in a strange way, himself - which ties it nicely to what he was doing with the Smiths, possibly the most utterly British band ever. Morrissey's career has effectively come full-circle.

And yet, this is clearly a Morrissey record, rather than a Smiths one. The only link that remains, really, is Mozza's voice - otherwise, there's no way you could mistake this for a Smiths album. Be it little touches (the breakbeat that opens America Is Not The World, or the bass being lower in the mix), or broader differences (The Smiths were rarely this hard or this driving), nothing here suggests an influence from Johnny Marr. Crucially, there's also nothing here that sounds like it needs him, either. That fact alone sets this as triumph, and as one of Morrissey's best ever solo albums.

You Are The Quarry is not 2004's best record, but it may yet turn out to be its most important.

Within The Genre - 4/5
Outside The Genre - 3/5

Recommended Downloads -
Irish Blood, English Heart

A real statement of intent. See main review.

I Have Forgiven Jesus
It's one of the most lyrically basic songs on the album, but it's probably the most emotionally direct, and the simplicity somehow speaks volumes about the alienation of the protagonist, as they attempt to come to terms with their feelings and find out why they have them.

First of The Gang To Die
Morrissey has always had a strange obsession with skinhead culture. Here, it returns with one of his finest songs on the subject. It tells the story of Hector, who was a gang figurehead. The song's told from the perspective of another member of the gang, ruminating on his feelings. Loyalty, a love of life, and the idea of 'us-and-them' hang overhead. An anthem (at my local pub, at least).



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user ratings (184)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Scott Herren
December 15th 2004


192 Comments


Thanks Iai, that was a very good review. I agree with it being a very important album although not the best of the year. I don't listen to this a lot, just a couple of times since I got it maybe, but it is a really good album. My favorites are "America is Not the World" and "First of the Gang to Die".

Iai
Emeritus
December 16th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

/bump

Come on, several of you requested this one.

Bartender
Emeritus
December 16th 2004


826 Comments


I would have replied, but I'm not fond of replying to reviews just to say that I don't much like the artist under discussion. The Smiths and Morrissey have just never really appealed to me (except that Morrissey seems to hate everyone in his lyrics, which is amusing). Rest assured it was read, though.

Tomahawk
December 16th 2004


124 Comments


This is the only Morrissey CD that I have. It's really solid. It gets a bit too dramatic in some bits, but hey, it's Morrissey.

pixiesfanyo
December 16th 2004


1223 Comments


Yeah, I agree with Bartender the smiths bother me

Adam Jones is GOD
December 16th 2004


113 Comments


I enjoyed hearing the singles off this one, but i wouldnt buy the album. He's always annoyed me for some reason,even though his attitude is one that I should agree with.

I did find it funny when he was peforming on that Saturday morning 'music' show though, surrounded by 14 year old girls. So badly out of place

morrissey
Moderator
December 16th 2004


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey, good review Iai, I've been waiting for this one ;).
This is one of my favourite Morrissey albums, I still prefer to listen to some of the older ones... but this one does get plenty of listening.
Personal favourites for me were already highlighted (Irish Blood, First of the Gang, Jesus), but I enjoy all the songs on the album.
I don't have much else to say, except nice review .This Message Edited On 04.28.06

Med57
Moderator
December 16th 2004


1001 Comments


As usual, good review, but while I love The Smiths, for some reason I don't own anything by Morrissey himself. I keep on meaning to pick up this and/or Your Arsenal though.

Skullder
December 17th 2004


4 Comments


good album, I had no idea it had such a big impact. At first I thought little of it, but i listen to it often now. Allthough the guitar is good, I still like johnny marr better. Heard the smiths are getting back together, is this true?

Tomahawk
December 17th 2004


124 Comments


I doubt it.

Iai
Emeritus
December 17th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There's been some talk of a reunion between Marr and Morrissey for a one-off project. But I very much doubt Andy Rourke would get involved after that court case. (It was Rourke who sued, right?)

Skullder
December 17th 2004


4 Comments


court case? what happend?

Iai
Emeritus
December 17th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Something to do with royalties. Rourke (I think) took both Morrissey and Marr to court over monies he was owed from the days of The Smiths. I'll go look for the story, I have it in a special Smiths magazine .

Iai
Emeritus
December 17th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was wrong, it was Mike Joyce. In 1996 he took Morrissey and Marr to court because he'd only been given 10% of the royalties, and he felt he deserved 25%. The case is actually still ongoing, because Morrissey refuses to accept it and keeps appealing. Marr paid up though.

morrissey
Moderator
December 17th 2004


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^^ yep, and Rourke settled out of court beforehand.

I highly highly doubt that Morrissey/Marr would get back together though, it is very unlikely (..unfortunately).

Skullder
December 18th 2004


4 Comments


wow.. greedy man

Dynamite
December 18th 2004


1 Comments


well morrisey wrote the lyrics and marr wrote the songs, the others just played.... they shouldnt get the same as marr and morrisey, they havent done as much to deserve/earn it.

Welcometothezoo
December 18th 2004


36 Comments


some good songs on that album, I went to see him last night, and a number of the songs on that album really got the crowd in the mood, particularly 'irish blood..', 'first of the gang.....' and 'let me kiss you'.

Tomahawk
December 18th 2004


124 Comments


Does he still play any Smiths songs live? Or is it strictly solo Moz stuff?

morrissey
Moderator
December 18th 2004


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[QUOTE=Tomahawk]Does he still play any Smiths songs live? Or is it strictly solo Moz stuff?[/QUOTE]

I went to see him, he played some of the more popular songs (how soon is now, bigmouth, and I think he usually closes with There is a light that never goes out), but I hear he won't do Hand in Glove, THis Charming Man, songs like that. I don't know if that is true though.



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