Over the weekend, a monumental album, Morrissey‘s You Are The Quarry, celebrated its tenth anniversary. Released May 17, 2004 in the UK, and one day later, May 18, stateside, Quarry marked not only a career renaissance for Moz, but also a whole new sonic direction and revived interest in the iconic ex-Smiths frontman. As we gear up for his upcoming tenth album, World Peace Is None of Your Business, due out July 15, as well as his May 28 performance at The Ryman Auditorium (just a handful of tickets left here), we’d like to take a look at the album that set the template for the last ten years.
After 1997’s Maladjusted, Morrissey, faced with perceived scrutiny from the British press, legal issues with an ex-bandmate, and a bit of a loss of direction in his sound, retreated to Los Angeles, where he would spend the next seven years largely out of the public eye, save for a couple of brief tours. After his largest gap between releases (the second largest now stands between the upcoming World Peace and 2009’s Years of Refusal), Moz emerged with a new Sanctuary Records vanity label, Attack Records, and his most explosive effort in over a decade, You Are the Quarry. Perhaps his most beloved release by critics and fans alike, next to 1992’s Your Arsenal, Quarry was helmed by renewed punk producer Jerry Finn, and contains an even spread of tracks co-written by Moz and longtime guitarists and collaborators Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer. Something of an instant classic upon release, Quarry became the singer’s highest charting album in the U.S., landed in the top ten in the UK, and helped jettison Morrissey to a newfound platform of popularity for a whole new generation. Its tracks have become staples of the singer’s live show, and still, it dominates his greatest hits compilations, live DVDs, and cover songs of choice.
Ten years later, You Are the Quarry, stands as one of the best, albeit, perhaps, one of the most criminally underrated, releases of the ’00s. In his two (soon to be three) full-lengths since, Morrissey has come close, but not quite matched its balance of personal and socially-conscious lyrical bite, immense pop appeal, and musical momentum. Fairly streamlined by Morrissey standards, YATQ‘s now-iconic cover, showcasing the singer with a machine gun, seemingly made the declaration that Morrissey was back and ready to fight. Judging by his recent surge in energy an enthusiasm, following an incredibly rough year, the Pope of Mope seems to be sitting himself up to allow lighting to strike once more. Could Would Peace prove to be its worthy successor? We’ll certainly know soon. Since it has been made unavailable for Spotify streaming, we’ve found a YouTube rip of Quarry and embedded it below.