California Son


BMG, 2019

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Say what you want, Morrissey is back with his own takes on pop songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Some of these songs are classics, while others are songs seemingly lost to history that Morrissey has decided need resurrecting. Kicking things off with Jobriath’s “Morning Starship,” he takes the reigns and cranks out a song that is memorable and interesting. It’s tracks like this that might make you want to check out Jobriath and realize how truly inspiring he was.

Some people are having trouble separating Morrissey from the B.S. that comes out of his mouth when he isn’t singing. True, he may say a lot of stuff that makes no sense, but for the most part, his songs don’t seem to suffer. This isn’t a fantastic album by any stretch of the imagination; if anything, it sounds like all other cover albums done by once great artists struggling to retain their artistic merit.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Takes on songs by Joni Mitchell and Dylan fall flat and don’t do anything to save Morrissey or give him renewed vigor. His strange take on Buffy Sainte-Marie(!!)’s “Suffer The Little Children” needs to be heard to be believed. Of all the great Phil Ochs songs, he chooses to do
“Days Of Decision,” a song I’m not even familiar with. It’s just a strange concoction of material all around. Aside from Jobriath, the only track here that’s interesting is a nice take on Carly Simon’s “When You Close Your Eyes.” Other than that, the disc comes across as bore city.

After his opening salvo, it turns into a collection of shoddy B-sides that Morrissey would have repackaged over and over again. On tracks like “Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets” by Dionne Warwick, Morrissey sounds like he’s leading a warped polka band. With an oompah backing, the song drags and drags and leaves him at the altar all alone. Trying to croon like his old solo days on Gary Puckett’s “Lady Willpower,” he honestly sounds like a bad cover singer one would hear on a crappy oldies station. The song just sucks and there’s nothing that anyone can do to save it. Morrissey is the only artist I can think of that could take Tim Hardin and Melanie songs and completely make them suck. What started out as an homage/tribute to artists he’s always liked completely turns into an quasi-karaoke session from a once famous singer.

In the end, I wanted to like the disc and give Morrissey another go round after ignoring him for the better part of a decade, but aside from the two great tracks, there’s really nothing here to recommend. Straight to the cutout bin ya go!

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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