Morrissey – I Am Not a Dog on a Chain
Publisher: BMG, 03/20/2020
Production: Joe Chiccarelli
Genre: Pop rock
After the last album released “California Son“, Which contains exclusively the processing of well-known names in the music world, Morrissey has decided that it should not be his last album before retirement, if at all his intention is to retire. This would make critics extremely happy. On April 20, the long-announced album “I Am Not a Dog on a Chain“, The thirteenth in a series of solo performances.
What really is the problem with this album? Although Morrissey is widely known for his uncompromising presentation of his views, some boundaries must exist, because some of the topics are little more than mere taboos. Even if one is a misogynist in his own right, and thus presents himself to the world by criticizing humanity, as a sixty-year-old with extensive experience, he would need to know which line he does not cross.
We find out Morrissey is not a dog on a leash. But what is he, then? In recent years, he has driven even the most devout fans with his continuous, relentless, worrying outbursts and his deeply anchored understandings of society and the world at large.
The question arises, and this is also a realistic task when listening to this album – Is it possible to separate a person from music? Morrissey in no way helps solve the dilemma by drawing attention to topics such as love protagonists, victimization, intriguing characters, and constant dissatisfaction with the world image.
Significant pieces lean towards the avant-garde, which certainly marks a bold step aside for an artist who could simply continue to please fans with hit numbers in the indie pop style. But as this is an artist who stands alone in his genre and is inherently specific, this album is truly a refreshment if we look back at his predecessors. This certainly applies to music, lyrics are something else.
Casual listeners may be dismayed by the opening song “Jim Jim Falls”Where Morrissey calls for a potential suicide at Australian Jim Jim Falls.“If you go to jump then jump… If you go to run home and cry then waste your time / If you go to kill yourself then / To save face – get on with it” . For a man who used to be a leading figure of social outsiders, he is now boldly throwing himself at the crucifixion and waiting for the media to pull the trigger. In this way, he re-establishes himself as the sole advocate of the truth by saying what everyone “really” thinks about this topic. Brave and expected, but given the sensitivity of the subject, a little too much. What breaks the lyrics of this song is music that has elements of drum 'n' bass and electronics that go well with the vocals. We can also say that it's great if you ignore the lyrics.
“Love Is On Its Way Out”Is the second single from the album to be released in January. The song is rich in drums that create the atmosphere of a cave and synthesizers create an atmosphere of open space. The vocals sail through these tunes like a savannah in accordance with the lyrics. The topic is not love love but global chaos Love is broken down, broken down its way out / Hunting down, shooting down elephants and lions? A well-known critique of the society that is the center of Morrissey's lyricism – the relation of humanity to animals and the terror they endure by humans.
Still, there is something for the palate of all fans of The Smiths. Riffs in style Johnny Marr on the piano lurk in the song “Bobby tells you you think they know“Beneath all layers of electronics. This was the first single to announce the album and somewhat managed to capture the imagination of what we could expect from Morrissey. Surprise is certainly vocal Thelme Houston, the stars Motowna. Although it is utterly impossible to imagine Morrissey sharing this role, her presence gives a special smirk to the song and one can briefly forget the somber lyrics whose intensity is quite clearly evoked by the intersection of these two vocals.
Title track rhythm “I'm not a dog on a chain”Is similar to the songs in“ Frankly, Mr Shankly ”and“ Girlfriend In A Coma ”. Comical, frivolous and musically different from all the other songs on the album, which leads us to pay attention to the lyrics. After 30 years on the scene, Morrissey felt the need to explain to everyone who he was, or rather what he was. For a mysterious person like him, we wonder where the need to explain himself right now is? That he was never tied up with a chain is clear to everyone, as well as that he never paid much attention to the media or took to heart what they were saying. Maybe this is an attempt to explain to a younger audience, who may be just discovering his work and who hates to read all the archives about Morrissey, who the gentleman is and what he has to say about the world. There is no point in being nice. Well, it may be better not to contribute to the wickedness of this already arrogant enough world.
“What Kind Of People Live In These Houses?”Is a classic pop country jangle. Melodically evoking the Smiths, the vocals are also very characteristic of the Smith era and in this case more than good compared to previous years. The song jocularly describes scenes from a sad, dull life in the suburbs. Analyzing the text, we can see that not much effort has been put into compiling this, to say, list of all that is horrible in such an uninteresting life. High school rhyme in this case is a big red card for a lyricist like Morrissey. It is hard to believe that a man of sixty years of age, with many experiences, cannot write a more meaningful text than a guy who wrote “The Queen is Dead” in his late twenties.
We move on to the song “Knockabout World“Where on the stanzas we hear disco bits and convenient electronics details. Another interesting thing about choosing music is that it is well known that in the past it used to be disgusting and hateful towards disco music. On the contrary, this really is a refreshment, because from the disc we soon switch to a well-known indie on the refrain that fits perfectly with the stanzas. A production hat that blended everything perfectly and put the vocals in an ambience that floats nicely on the guitar sections Boz Boorera. The main issue with this album seems to be the lyrics. Here Morrissey reportedly addresses the listener as a victim of modern society and the media, but in fact he talks to himself and says You are Ok by me.
After these few tracks, the quality of the album continues to decline. Morrissey becomes confused by his own adventures. The presence of trumpet mariachi on “Darling, I Hug a PillowCompletely destroys a song that leads to nothing. The same is true of the song “Once I Saw The River Clean”Which is one big trip down the avenue of memories where Morrissey walks with her grandmother going to buy a pack of cigarettes and a T-Rex single. Musically, it's like a remix where DJ released Morrissey's vocals over some ambient beat that could be heard in the 1990s.
“I'm Not a Dog on a Chain” is certainly one interesting album with all its flaws. You may not go on stage to hug your god Morissey and dance with him until security breaks you out, but you may find one or maybe two tracks that will grow to your heart. And whether you will be able to gaze at one eye and forgive him for the lack of grandiosity he once had, it is up to you to decide. Musically, this album gives us a fresh picture of Morrissey's music that has followed the latest streams. The vocals are really technically excellent and have all the charm that he has had all these years looking back. What is still a bone in the throat of this whole story is the lyric. Unfortunately, even though the goal was to portray himself as an uncompromising, courageous truth-teller, Morissey is nothing more than a free dog that barks but doesn't bite.
Jim Jim Falls
Love Is On Its Way Out
Bobby, Do You Think They Know?
I Am Not a Dog on a Chain
What Kind of People Live in These Houses?
Darling, I Hug a Pillow
Once I Saw The River Clean
The Truth About Ruth
The Secret of Music
My Hurling Days Are Done