World Peace Is None of Your Business – The album that this entire series has been leading up to, and one that was long-awaited after another brief period of stasis in Morrissey’s musical output.
In such a position and after revisiting all of the singer’s work, one can’t help but try to compare this new collection of material with each of its counterparts that preceded it whether it be fair or not.
And through this lens, it is surprisingly, and refreshingly, rather difficult to pin World Peace down beneath a specific framework.
At some points, the brooding echoes of Ringleader of the Tormentors peak through (the title track and “I’m Not a Man”) as do the pop flourishes of You Are the Quarry (“Kiss Me a Lot”) and the confessional musings of Vauxhall and I (“Earth Is the Loneliest Planet” and “Oboe Concerto”), but at the same time, none of these past releases can some up the range of the new record.
World Peace is a piece of work that captures many of the themes that pervade through the whole of Morrissey’s discography such as romantic longing, world-weariness, and cynicism coupled with a familiar sonic edge and beauty while also applying these in a new manner so that none of these sentiments feel tired or played-out. In fact, with the new album’s sound and a flirtation with a kind of quasi Spanish / Flamenco tone, much of the bleak material feels energized in a similar way that You Are the Quarry achieved after the singer’s first major recording hiatus.
And perhaps that is a fitting way to summarize the whole of Morrissey’s body of work – One is sure to find a vein of similarity that runs through each of the man’s albums, and yet he has never made the same album twice. And while some of these entries debatably worked better and with more commercial success than others, the “best” entry in this discography very much depends on one’s disposition.
Perhaps you’re more inclined to go with the “classic” feel of Viva Hate. Or maybe you’re into the glam rock edge of Your Arsenal or the experimental prog-rock of Southpaw Grammar. Each one easily has a case to be made for it once it has found its audience.
Aside from being an engaging batch of new songs, World Peace is a particularly poignant addition to Morrissey’s solo oeuvre because of how it unwittingly celebrates everything fans have come to hope for from a Morrissey record while also making each of these aspects seem brand new and just as empowering as they ever were.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
~ Stephen (@StephenThePM)