Morrissey
I Am Not a Dog on a Chain


3.0
good

Review

by Nat S. USER (18 Reviews)
March 26th, 2020 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: …it’s Morrissey, innit?

You’d think, at a time when suicide rates are constantly on the rise, that writing a song with the line “If you’re gonna kill yourself, then for God’s sake, kill yourself” might not be the brightest idea, let alone opening an album with it. But this is Morrissey we’re talking about, and that no-flips-given attitude – summed up by the album’s title ‒ is exactly what we’ve come to expect from him over the last 40-ish years. Ever since the Smiths first crashed onto the scene, Steven Patrick Morrissey has earned a reputation for being unashamedly and inimitably himself ‒ whether he’s touching on taboo subjects, criticising the people everyone else bows before or waxing poetic about his troubled love life, no one tells him what he can and can’t say. I am Not a Dog on a Chain is his thirteenth solo album and finds him just as unfiltered as ever, even if it’s been written from quite a different place than his earlier works – now 60 and with a packed career behind him, he could almost be forgiven for sounding a bit jaded at times.

Musically, Dog doesn’t take very many risks. It’s not that the album treads old ground as such ‒ there’s nothing here that sounds like “This Charming Man” or even “First of the Gang to Die” ‒ but the styles it plays with aren’t anything terribly original. These 11 tracks are as middle-of-the road as you can get, taking their cues from such genres as 90s pop, soul, country and musical theatre. Thelma Houston’s stunning guest appearance on “Bobby Don’t You Think They Know?” deserves praise, but that aside, these are all styles that have already been done better and more engagingly elsewhere.

But that’s not really a huge problem, because as with any Morrissey solo release, the lyrics are the main event here. Fans of classic Moz lyricism will find much to enjoy, from the biting social commentary of “What Kind of People Live in These Houses?” to the critiques of war and big-game hunting on “Love is On Its Way Out”. “Knockabout World” is the closest this record gets to Smiths-esque lust poetry ‒ “Congratulations, you’re still okay/I’d kiss your lips off any day” could have come straight off their self-titled album – while closer “My Hurling Days are Done”, a reflection on age and the passing of time, is perhaps one of the most poignant things the man has ever written. Dog does, however, have its creative misfires, and although they’re not enough to wreck the album completely, they don’t half stick out. “The Secret of Music”, clocking in at almost eight minutes, could be half its length and not lose anything of value, and quite what “The Truth About Ruth” is all about is anyone’s guess.

When (if?) Morrissey’s career comes to an end, and the aficionados and music journalists try to rank (sorry) his works, they probably won’t put I am Not a Dog on a Chain at the top of the pile. While it’s not a bad record in and of itself, from a creative standpoint, it’s far from the best thing he has ever put out. But its very existence should remind us it’s okay to go against the grain, to share our unedited thoughts with the world without fear of backlash. In an industry with too many manufactured, plastic acts who only share strong opinions when they stand to gain something from it, Morrissey holds up a mirror to them. And by the looks of it, he doesn’t plan on going away or toning things down anytime soon. Love may be on its way out, but Bigmouth isn’t – and he probably couldn’t care less how you feel about that.



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user ratings (46)
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
Tokyochuchu (4.5)
Get out your pitchforks and torches! Here comes a positive Morrissey review. *gulps*...



Comments:Add a Comment 
mete0ra
March 26th 2020


212 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

First review I've done for this site since 2017. All constructive feedback welcome!

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2020


18258 Comments


Weird rating spread, someone slap a 4 on this haha

MarsKid
Emeritus
March 26th 2020


21035 Comments


If anything, maybe a bit more on why certain parts are bad (i.e. "Truth About Ruth," I'm morbidly curious if it's nonsensical crap).

But it's very concise and delivers its points well. A solid write-up through and through. And welcome back to reviewing!

zakalwe
March 26th 2020


39505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have some of that

MarsKid
Emeritus
March 26th 2020


21035 Comments


My pie chart doesn't seem to display it, so I'm calling fake news!

mete0ra
March 26th 2020


212 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks MarsKid! I'll bear that in mind whenever I next review anything. And yeah Nocte, that's what I thought as well haha

MarsKid
Emeritus
March 26th 2020


21035 Comments


This'll be a divisive one methinks.

pollastrerostit
October 2nd 2020


864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Love is on its way out is soooo infectious

beefshoes
December 8th 2020


8443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Picked this up used today for $4. It's honestly quite good, and probably his best solo record in 12 years or so.

Ryus
December 8th 2020


37508 Comments


morrissey should have died in about 1989 it wouldve been better for everyone

beefshoes
December 8th 2020


8443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Most of his records from the 90s are fantastic though.

Ryus
December 8th 2020


37508 Comments


to be honest i havent heard any of them even tho the smiths are one of my favs lol. im sure id like them tho! ill probably check them one of these days

beefshoes
December 8th 2020


8443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I are both worth checking out, and are definitely on par with Viva Hate and The Smiths' records lyrically. It's a different sound though, as he ditched the jangly guitars in favour of a stronger influence from 70s glam rock.

deathschool
December 8th 2020


28753 Comments


morrissey should have died [2]

Pheromone
December 8th 2020


21490 Comments


morrissey should have died in about 1989 it wouldve been better for everyone [3]

zakalwe
December 8th 2020


39505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

tut tut

deathschool
December 8th 2020


28753 Comments


tut-tut
/ˌtətˈtət/
exclamation
used to express disapproval or annoyance.

zakalwe
December 8th 2020


39505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Disapproving as fuck mate

deathschool
December 8th 2020


28753 Comments


I’m sorry. I will reflect on my actions in despair.

beefshoes
December 10th 2020


8443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Waiting on Morrissey to make a anti-SWJ YouTube channel. He'd be Dave Rubin's favourite



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