More than just a pretty face and Wildean wit.

Angelos (bless you, darling) forwarded along this Slate article about the politics of Morrissey’s new album, Ringleader of the Tormentors, and, in spite of my Mozza fanaticism, I can manage to eke out enough objectivity to affirm the article’s a good one.

Because Morrissey has few champions among those mainstream American pop critics preoccupied with business-as-usual routines by Pink, T.I., Beth Orton, and the Arctic Monkeys, the millennial vision and excitement—the progress—of Ringleader has been overlooked. Here's a pop album that helps one get a handle on how we live today. Each song traces unique emotional turmoil—from distorted family legacies ("The Youngest Was the Most Loved") to social isolation ("On the Streets I Ran"). At age 47, Morrissey maintains a commitment to rock—not folk—proffers an incongruously adult sense of the world…

That doesn't mean he's made a political record in the conventional sense. Morrissey, too clever for Bono's po-faced sincerity, eschews the self-congratulatory earnestness of the maudlin sloganeers and the peacenik righteousness of Vietnam-era pop musicians. Instead, Ringleader is aggrieved—candidly personal yet vividly reportorial. The songs are full of the mixed emotions that characterize our conflicted allegiances. Whatever one's position on Iraq, Gitmo, or that mosque down the street, Morrissey's perspicacity fits the mood through his indulgence of complex, contradictory feelings.
All true. He’s never going to be as obvious as Pink or Neil Young, but Ringleader is precisely as moving as stated above for precisely the reasons suggested. Morrissey has a long history of political commentary in his music; as I’ve mentioned, he’s been pulled in for questioning by “the authorities” on more than one occasion, and from “Meat is Murder” to “America is Not the World,” “Vicar in a Tutu” to “Glamorous Glue,” “Shoplifters of the World Unite” to “Irish Blood, English Heart,” there runs the passionate voice of a dedicated progressive, who struggles mightily with the state of the world and his place in it. A frustrated progressive with a penchant for wit and poetry could find little better for satiating the soul than a Morrissey album.

The only complaint I have with the piece is that Mozza isn’t 47. He won’t be until May 22. And thus signals the return to my natural state as rampant fangrrl.

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