Ringleader of the Tormentors
By David Chiu
Morrissey is on a career roll ever since 2004’s comeback You are the Quarry.” Ringleader of the Tormentors (great title) breaks no new ground in what fans have usually come to expect from Moz in delivering barbs (“If your God bestows protection upon you/And if the USA doesn’t bomb you” on the Middle Eastern-sounding “I Will See You in Far Off Places”; “I see the world/it makes me puke” on “To Me You Are a Work of Art”) and off-kilter subject matter (“The Youngest Boy Was the Most Loved,” “The Father Who Must Be Killed”). Yet there are some moments on Ringleader that reveal a softer side from the poster boy of celibacy on the soul-searching “Dear God Please Help Me” (“Now I’m spreading your legs with mine in between”) and “Life is a Pigsty” in which he is “finally falling in love again”! In between are some fine rockers including the driving “You Have Killed Me” and “I Just Want to See the Boy Happy.” Moz’s choice of Tony Visconti as the album’s producer is an inspired one since Mick Ronson for 1992’s Your Arsenal: Visconti’s Bowie/T-Rex connection is quite obvious on “In the Future When All’s Well.” Ringleader aasures Moz’s status as alternative rock’s cult icon.