Morrissey's back in record stores tomorrow with Years of Refusal, his first album since 2006's Ringleader of the Tormentors and possibly his hardest-rocking album to date. (Its release on primo Americana label Lost Highway only adds to the weirdness factor.) The thick-ass bass and snarling guitars of songs like "Something Is Squeezing My Skull," "All You Need Is Me" and "One Day Goodbye May Be Farewell" may take a little getting used to - and may be his best shot at commercial airplay since Vauxhall and I - but the lyrics are vintage Moz through and through: "There's a naked man standing laughing in your dreams/ You know who it is, but you don't like what it means." And the cover? Hoo boy...
Softer, janglier songs like "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" and "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" will no doubt be less disconcerting for old-school fans. "You Were Good In Your Time" suggests Sinatra on a rainy night in old Manchester: "You make me feel not quite so deformed and hunchbacked." Can the guy write a love song or what?
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Scattered balcony seating remains for Moz's April 11 concert at Jones Hall. (See Ticketmaster.) It's going to be sick, and you can possibly score a date to the show at tonight's free Refusal listening party at Jet Lounge, 1515 Pease. Doors at 9 p.m.