Morrissey Is Not a Human Being, Part Two. The former Smiths frontman, whose health concerns and vociferous animal-rights adovocacy have recently made him to the indie blogosphere what Lil Wayne is to TMZ, could've preempted the ailing rapper's latest album title way back in 1991. Moz had already shown devotees he was, well, human after all, when a planned follow-up to masterful 1988 solo debut Viva Hate fell apart amid professional acrimony and critical rubbishing. Then, after bouncing back brilliantly with 1990's Bona Drag singles compilation, Steven Patrick Morrissey followed through on what he'd been saying all along: That he had no right to take his place with the human race.
Kill Uncle, Morrissey's second solo LP, has a largely deserved reputation as his least distinctive. A minor album by a major artist, it still offers its own curious pleasures, particularly for the converted (who have always constituted much of Moz's audience anyway). And like another wrongly panned outing by a canonical rock figurehead, Bob Dylan's Self Portrait in 1970, Kill Uncle positively revels in its own insubstantiality: Though often critiqued according to an indie tradition grounded in authenticity and personal expression, the album is best appreciated as a campy celebration of the decorative and artificial. The original vinyl includes an etching that reads, punning on Oscar Wilde, "Nothing to declare except my jeans"; a standalone single coinciding with the reissue is a 7" vinyl Rickroll.
Morrissey might've had little choice but to wrap himself in arch humor. Where Viva Hate reunited him with the Smiths' producer Stephen Street and found a top-notch replacement for guitarist Johnny Marr in the Durutti Column's Vini Reilly, Kill Uncle's style varies between generically Smiths-y jangle and cabaret-like theatricality. Moz's production team here of Alan Winstanley and Clive Langer had a fairly solid track record (Elvis Costello, Madness; later, Bush's Sixteen Stone), and they'd actually overseen a few of Bona Drag's lesser cuts. But together with guitarist and Kirsty MacColl collaborator Mark E. Nevin, they failed to give Morrissey a musical setting as singular as his own eccentric presence.
With the heavy lifting left to Morrissey's idiosyncratic lyrics and motley croon, he disappeared into them, tartly disowning such supposed virtues as honesty and passion. The best tracks tend to be the most bitterly funny, such as buoyant alt-pop opener "Our Frank", where a wryly "r"-rolling Moz bemoans earnestness as so much vulgarity ("I'm only human," he sneers!), only to wind up suggesting his narrator is probably just targeting himself. "Sing Your Life", jaunty as the angle of a stylish cap, is a brutal ethering of the troubador-like idea expressed in its title, and contains another surprise ending: Just when it looks like Moz is about to pull back the curtain and reveal "the truth," it turns out to be only that "you have a lovely singing voice." If the Smiths lyric from the The Queen Is Dead's "Cemetry Gates" about how "Keats and Yeats are on your side/ While Wilde is on mine" was misunderstood in 1986, Moz was beating the world over the head with it in 1991. And the world still wouldn't listen.
The more ostensibly serious songs also mock conventional values, both aesthetically and morally. Much as other tracks here spurn the goal of expressing some timeless artistic truth, "(I'm) The End of the Family Line"-- an elegantly swaying strummer so "elegantly swaying" you can almost hear the air quotes-- finds Morrissey rejecting the biological imperative of passing along his DNA. The family line might be ending, but the song doesn't right away: Just when a muffled speaking voice sounds like it's about to overtake the fading music, Moz comes back for another chorus, spitting his dynastic betrayal in the face of decent-thinking humanity one last time. Similarly, shutter-clicking whirligig "The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye" plays less like a straightforward tale of paparazzi and more like a bleak observation on public image. Both are funnier than their pomp and circumstance might hint. Just think: Moz is mocked for his self-aggrandizement, but it's the breeders who act like we're so special the planet needs our genetic material after we die.
Of course, compared with "Everyday Is Like Sunday" or even "The First of the Gang to Die", these sardonic jibes are lesser accomplishments, and not everything on Kill Uncle bears revisiting. The racially trolling "Asian Rut"-- part of a regrettable triptych with Viva Hate's "Bengali in Platforms" and "The National Front Disco," from 1992's far-superior Your Arsenal-- is instrumentally lavish, with accordion and violin, but it carries the album's undercurrent of dehumanization to an unbearable extreme: Morrissey withholds empathy for the victim of a racist attack. Though glorification of thuggish ugliness is a legitimate artistic theme that runs across the work of the writer Jean Genet and director Pier Paolo Pasolini, among many others, the result is frustrating from an artist with an unusually diverse indie-rock fanbase.
Like last year's Viva Hate reissue, the newly remastered Kill Uncle package is only slightly different from its original, and not exactly for the better. "Asian Rut" is blessedly lower on the track list, "Family Line" assumes its rightful place at the end, and two superfluous B-sides now interrupt the album's midsection: "Pashernate Love", a romp too trifling even to succeed as a trifle, and "East West", a confounding Herman's Hermits cover that makes sense only as a nod to the album's superficiality (Moz exults, "Nothing is tacky!"). The redone album artwork likewise emphasizes self-awareness, with photography of Moz posing in a Bona Drag T-shirt, but isn't especially arresting. No extra liner notes. No bonus discs. Nothing that might boost the rating above.
The most noteworthy switch is the replacement of "There's a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends," originally a piano-based torch song, with a live-in-studio version from 1991's Morrissey at KROQ EP. This take's muscular, rockabilly-infused glam-rock portends the direction Morrissey would take next on Your Arsenal. But perversely removing the most over-the-top, showtunes-y number from Kill Uncle only further undercuts the coherence of its appeal. And what about "Sing Your Life", which also appears in a more immediately pleasing but less conceptually appropriate rockabilly version on the KROQ EP?
Now, as ever, provoking and then withholding sensible answers to such obsessive questions remains essential to Morrissey's allure. Kill Uncle came at a time when U.S. audiences, on the eve of Nirvana's breakthrough, might've decided Moz was another alternative-rock icon worthy of widespread embrace, but his decidedly English quirks were almost as out of step in the states as they were in the UK, where his native Manchester had gone (to him, deplorably) Madchester and Britpop was still a couple of years away. Morrissey always knew how to toy with the press; when he came out onstage in London's Finsbury Park draped in the Union Jack, it was a scandal. Before too long, it might've been Cool Britannia, but the irony would've been lost either way: Contrary to Deerhunter's wildly entertaining dismissal of Morrissey in a recent interview, he's no "Sir Morrissey" and has harshly criticized other rock musicians who accept royal honors.
For a sense of just how misunderstood Kill Uncle was, consider that Rolling Stone's review at the time compared Morrissey's role with the Smiths to Sylvia Plath and chided the new record for its "detached feel." Surely, Plath is over on Keats' and Yeats' side. Meanwhile, over with Moz on Wilde's, detachment isn't necessarily an insult; that doesn't make the record a masterpiece, but it does make it one worth revisiting for Moz's ample cult. In a strange way, the song that best explains Kill Uncle isn't on Kill Uncle at all. It's Bona Drag's "Disappointed", where Morrissey sings, and a crowd responds, "This the last song I'll ever sing (yeah!)/ No: I've changed my mind again (awww...)/ Good night, and thank you." Morrissey fandom is a lifelong exercise in self-aware disappointment, but if he really is the last of his kind, let's enjoy him while we have him. Though he's been teasing us about his looming mortality for years, he really is all too human. And he has a lovely singing voice.
Publicado em: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17837-morrissey-kill-uncle/