Years of Refusal

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Years of Refusal
Studio album by Morrissey
Released 16 February 2009 (2009-02-16)
Recorded 2007 – May 2008
Genre Alternative rock, pop rock
Length 43:25

Decca/Polydor (UK), Attack/Lost Highway

Producer Jerry Finn
Morrissey chronology
Ringleader of the Tormentors
Years of Refusal
World Peace Is None of Your Business
Singles from Years of Refusal
  1. "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"
    Released: 9 February 2009
  2. "Something Is Squeezing My Skull"
    Released: 27 April 2009

Years of Refusal is the ninth solo album by Morrissey. Distributed by Decca in the UK and Lost Highway in the US, it was released on 16 February 2009 in the UK and on 17 February 2009 in the US.[1] Morrissey has described this album, the follow-up to 2006's UK number 1 record Ringleader of the Tormentors, as his "strongest work to date".[2][3] It was the last album completed by producer Jerry Finn before his death. The album is also notable for being the first Morrissey album since Kill Uncle not to feature Alain Whyte on lead guitar, who is permanently replaced by Jesse Tobias. The album marks his final writing collaborations with Morrissey, after Whyte confirmed it was unlikely he would collaborate with Morrissey again.

Recording and release[edit]

Recording for the album commenced in late November and ended in late December 2007 in Los Angeles at Conway Recording Studios. Mixing began in early February 2008. An additional track for the album was recorded in late May according to drummer Matt Walker.[4] Keyboardist Michael Farrell left the band prior to the album's completion so Morrissey recruited Roger Manning to fill in. Manning previously played on Morrissey's 2004 album You Are The Quarry. Manning had this to say about the recording of the album:

In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live with Tony Visconti, the producer stated that his new project would be "the next Morrissey album", though that this would not be forthcoming for at least a year. However, in an interview with the BBC News website in October 2007, Morrissey said that the album was already written and ready for a possible Autumn 2008 release. In December, Morrissey signed a new deal with Decca Records, which included a Greatest Hits album and a newly recorded album to follow in Autumn 2008.[6]

It was announced in November 2007 that Jerry Finn, the man behind Morrissey's 2004 album You Are the Quarry, would be producing the new album instead of Tony Visconti.[7] A reason for the change was rumored to be related to Kristeen Young, Morrissey's opening act at the time, and Visconti's supposed involvement. Further "proof" of this rumor is the occurrence of L.A. radio station INDIE 103.1's Joe Escalante leaking that Jerry Finn was the producer of the new album the day following Kristeen Young's firing from the 2007/2008 'Greatest Hits' tour. This was also a full week before the official announcement from Decca that Jerry Finn was to produce the new album.

However, in a June 2008 interview with Hot Press magazine Morrissey cleared up the issue:

On 30 May 2008, posted the following on Morrissey's 2008 album:

Of the twelve tracks, current guitarist Boz Boorer has written four[9] and former guitarist Alain Whyte has written five.[10] The remaining three tracks are Jesse Tobias compositions. Though he wrote nearly half the songs on the album Whyte did not participate in the recording. Years of Refusal marks the first time since 1992's Your Arsenal that Alain Whyte has not performed on a Morrissey album. Featured tracks "That's How People Grow Up", "All You Need Is Me", "Something Is Squeezing My Skull", "Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed", "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" and "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell", were all debuted on Morrissey's 2007/2008 Greatest Hits tour. The photo on the album cover for Years of Refusal is a portrait by Jake Walters. The baby pictured with Morrissey is Sebastien Pesel-Browne, who is the son of Charlie Browne, Morrissey's assistant tour manager. Sebastien's mother met Charlie at a Morrissey concert in Boston.[11]

Originally Years of Refusal was to be released on 15 September 2008 in the UK and 16 September 2008 in the US. However, the album's release date was delayed until 2 February 2009 at the request of Decca UK so Morrissey could have time to shop for a new label to distribute the album in the US after he withdrew from Decca US for their 'poor promotion of his Greatest Hits release'.[12] It was also later announced that 23 February 2009 would be the new release date for Years of Refusal. Finally, in a press release from Universal Music it was announced that the final release date for the album would be 16 February 2009 with the first single, "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", preceding the album a week earlier on 9 February 2009.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[13]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[14]
Mojo 3/5 stars[15]
NME (8/10)[16]
The Observer 4/5 stars[17]
Pitchfork Media (8.1/10)[18]
Q 3/5 stars[19]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[20]
Spin 4/5 stars[21]
Uncut 4/5 stars[22]

On 11 December 2008, Morrissey, along with Polydor president Ferdy Unger-Hamilton, unveiled Years of Refusal in London to a select group of journalists with a special listening of the album at Piccadilly's Pigalle Club. First impressions of the album were universally positive.[23][24][25]

Early reviews of the album suggest a return to the form of You Are the Quarry, ClashMusic commenting that it is "in a word, 'brilliant'" and that "it’s hard to listen to this album and not conclude that it’s one of his best as a solo artist".[26]

Pitchfork Media, along with giving the album an 8.1 rating, lauded Years of Refusal highly for its "rejuvenation" of Morrissey:

Spin, having given the album a four star rating, had this to say:

Q magazine, who gave the album a three star rating, praised and criticized the album saying:

John Earls of Planet Sound saw the album as a return to form in his 8 out of 10 rating;[30]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Something Is Squeezing My Skull"   Morrissey/Alain Whyte 2:38
2. "Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed"   Morrissey/Whyte 3:53
3. "Black Cloud"   Morrissey/Boz Boorer 2:48
4. "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"   Morrissey/Boorer 2:31
5. "All You Need Is Me"   Morrissey/Jesse Tobias 3:13
6. "When Last I Spoke to Carol"   Morrissey/Whyte 3:24
7. "That's How People Grow Up"   Morrissey/Boorer 2:59
8. "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell"   Morrissey/Boorer 2:57
9. "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore"   Morrissey/Whyte 5:10
10. "You Were Good in Your Time"   Morrissey/Whyte 5:01
11. "Sorry Doesn't Help"   Morrissey/Tobias 4:03
12. "I'm OK by Myself"   Morrissey/Tobias 4:48
iTunes U.S. bonus tracks[31]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
13. "Because of My Poor Education"   Morrissey/Whyte 2:56
14. "Shame Is the Name"   Morrissey/Whyte 3:49

Special Edition DVD[edit]

  1. "Wrestle with Russell" (an interview with Russell Brand)
  2. "That's How People Grow Up" (Performed live on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross)
  3. "All You Need is Me" (Performed live on Later... with Jools Holland)
  4. "All You Need is Me" (Promotional video)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders) 8
Finnish Albums Chart[32] 10
Mexican Albums Chart[33] 29
Swedish Albums Chart[34] 5
UK Albums Chart[35] 3
U.S. Billboard 200[36] 11


The band[edit]

Additional credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Morrissey signs to Lost Highway". 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  2. ^ "Morrissey autobiography". 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  3. ^ "Years of Refusal album details". 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Roger Manning speaks on new album". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  6. ^ "Polydor UK's press release". 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  7. ^ "Morrissey Eyeing New Album". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  8. ^ "New album information". 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  9. ^ "Boz Boorer interview". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  10. ^ "Alain Whyte radio interview". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  11. ^ "Album artwork information". 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  12. ^ "Years of Refusal delayed". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  13. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2009-02-16). "Years of Refusal - Morrissey | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  14. ^ Alexis Petridis (12 February 2009). "The Guardian review". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  15. ^ "Mojo review". 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  16. ^ "NME review". 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  17. ^ Garry Mulholland (15 February 2009). "The Observer review". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  18. ^ "Pitchfork Media review". 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  19. ^ "Q review". 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ "Spin review". Spin. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  22. ^ "Uncut review". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  23. ^ "Morrissey rocks out". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  24. ^ "Morrissey unveils new album in London". 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  25. ^ Rogers, Jude (2008-12-11). "Years of Refusal review". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  26. ^ 2 hours 7 min ago. (2009-02-16). "album review". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  27. ^ [3][dead link]
  28. ^ "FOUR STARS for Years of Refusal". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  29. ^ Q, March 2009, "The big man's 9th solo effort...," pgs. 90-91.
  30. ^ "Morrissey/Years Of Refusal". Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  31. ^ "Morrissey iTunes Pre-Order Now Available". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  32. ^ [4][dead link]
  33. ^ "Mexican Top 100". Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  34. ^ "SverigeTopplistan". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  35. ^ "Years Of Refusal". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  36. ^ Caulfield, Keith (2009-02-25). "'Slumdog' Barks While Taylor Swift Nets 10th Week At No. 1". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-02-25.