Picks and Pans Review: You Are the Quarry

updated 05/31/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/31/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Morrissey

CRITIC'S CHOICE

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It has been seven years since Morrissey's last studio disc, 1997's Maladjusted, but, heaven knows, he's still miserable. Which is cause for Moz fans everywhere to rejoice with this smashing comeback effort. Sounding refocused and recommitted, the British pop icon, 45, makes a CD that ranks with his best post-Smiths solo work. Hunt this Quarry down now. Brimming with his trademark biting wit and melancholy melodies, songs like "The World Is Full of Crashing Bores," "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?" and "All the Lazy Dykes" live up to their classic Morrissey titles. Best are the bloody brilliant "I Have Forgiven Jesus" ("For all the desire/ He placed in me when there's nothing I can do with this desire") and the vintage-Smiths jangle-rocker "Let Me Kiss You," on which, in typical self-deprecating fashion, Morrissey asks a would-be lover to "close your eyes and think of someone you physically admire." He closes things with the ironic "You Know I Couldn't Last," fully aware that he has had the last laugh on "the critics who can't break you/ Unwittingly, they make you."

ALT-ROCK

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