Hear these lines? Truly disappointed (truly, truly, truly)
Is that a didgeridoo? In a Morrissey song?? I do believe it is. And some tribal drumming too. Oh I see: it’s a reference to the ‘world’ in the song’s title. Unfortunately, it’s also an indication of the transparent level that Morrissey chooses to work on these days…
If you discount his lovely cover of Satellite Of Love, rush-released last year to commemorate the death of hero Lou Reed, this is the longest we’ve had to wait for a new Moz tune since Irish Blood, English Heart broke a 7 year silence a decade ago.
Whereas that song introduced a reinvigorated Morrissey rocking out of exile with some directly political lyrics and a flurry of mic-whipping, World Peace Is None of Your Business appears tired, lumpen and bereft of melody. The lyrics have now slipped from concise to just plain blunt; the odd promo clip of Moz’s spoken-word version of the song is about as tuneful as the sung version. [Which shouldn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the batty cameo from Nancy Sinatra.]
The upward stab of melody in the first line is simply repeated for much of the remainder of the track, the clunky words forced to fit against their will.
Throwaway lines like “would you kindly keep your nose out” might have sparkled within a sprightlier tune [think: Frankly Mr Shankly]. But this is more mantra than melody and, though I guess that might actually be the intention, it doesn’t make it any more pleasant to listen to.
And exactly who is he addressing as the “poor little fool” who “sweetly pays [his] taxes / never asking what for”? Surely, Steven, you’ve taught us better than that over the years. If he’s referring to those across the globe fighting for their democratic rights, then I’m not sure the repeated message “each time you vote you support the process” will be any comfort.
Contrary as ever, with Moz, his ostensibly hateful and condescending views often hide a deeper empathy. It’s just that digging beneath his petulance to find it grows increasingly tiresome. However wrong-headed the lyrics may appear, Moz will have a defence ready.
Overall, World Peace Is None of Your Business is Morrissey’s weakest single since 2008’s equally tuneless That’s How People Grow Up or maybe even his worst since Roy’s Keen back in 1997.
There’s evidence on YouTube that other new songs, in their live incarnations, are much more promising. So it’s fingers crossed for the album…