Reviewed by Matt Dentler, Fri., June 4, 2004
You Are the Quarry (Attack/Sanctuary)
"I like you, because you're not right in the head and nor am I," moans Morrissey on You Are the Quarry, seemingly singing to his fan base. And what a devoted fan base that is, having clung for dear life onto every gloomy melody the Smiths frontman ever fashioned. It's the same fan base that waited seven years for this album. It's also a fan base about to multiply, given the strength and scope of Quarry. Not that Morrissey cares. How could he, opening with "America Is Not the World" and lyrics such as "America, your head's too big"? What Morrissey does care about are hooks and riffs, something his solo output has been lacking since 1992's Your Arsenal. Working with Blink-182 producer Jerry Finn, Morrissey's songs rattle and hum with swagger and sour pride. When his voice soars, as on "I Have Forgiven Jesus," it lifts 15 years off of its official age. In fact, age is nothing but a number on Quarry, with Morrissey sitting on the fence between youthful bounce ("First of the Gang to Die") and mature admiration ("Let Me Kiss You"). The album's themes doubt, grief, love are the same old stomping ground for Morrissey, but as long as he's never fully right in the head, we'll still worship him.