Years of Refusal

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Years of Refusal
Studio album by
Released16 February 2009 (2009-02-16)
Recorded2007 – May 2008
GenreAlternative rock
LabelDecca/Polydor (UK), Attack/Lost Highway (US)
ProducerJerry Finn
Morrissey chronology
of the Tormentors

Years of Refusal
World Peace Is None of Your Business
Singles from Years of Refusal
  1. "That's How People Grow Up"
    Released: 4 February 2008
  2. "All You Need Is Me"
    Released: 2 June 2008
  3. "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"
    Released: 9 February 2009
  4. "Something Is Squeezing My Skull"
    Released: 27 April 2009

Years of Refusal is the ninth studio album by English alternative rock singer Morrissey. It was released on 16 February 2009 in the UK by record label Decca and on 17 February 2009 in the US by Lost Highway.[1]

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 Your Arsenal 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.[citation needed]


Recording for the album commenced in late November 2007 and ended in late December in Los Angeles at Conway Recording Studios. Mixing began in early February 2008.[citation needed] An additional track for the album was recorded in late May according to drummer Matt Walker.[2] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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:

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.


Of the twelve tracks, current guitarist Boz Boorer wrote four[7] and former guitarist Alain Whyte wrote five.[8] 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.

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.[9]


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".[citation needed] 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.

Years of Refusal reached number 3 in the UK Albums Chart.[10]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[12]
The Guardian3/5 stars[13]
Mojo3/5 stars[14]
The Observer4/5 stars[16]
Q3/5 stars[18]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[19]
Spin4/5 stars[20]
Uncut4/5 stars[21]

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.[22][23][24]

Early reviews of the album suggested a return to the form of You Are the Quarry, with Clash 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".[25] Tom Ewing of Pitchfork, along with giving the album an 8.1 rating, lauded Years of Refusal highly for its "rejuvenation" of Morrissey:

Q magazine, who gave the album a three star rating, praised and criticized the album saying: "So there is that fabulous voice, the felicitous turn of phrase, the ability to hit universal truths that transcend one middle-aged Mancunian's ingrained sense of being hard-done-by – but there's also too much grudge-bearing, too much self-justification, too much undistinguished guitar thump.[18]

Morrissey has described it as his "strongest work to date".[26][27]

Track listing[edit]

1."Something Is Squeezing My Skull"Morrissey, Alain Whyte2:38
2."Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed"Morrissey, Whyte3:53
3."Black Cloud"Morrissey, Boz Boorer2:48
4."I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"Morrissey, Boorer2:31
5."All You Need Is Me"Morrissey, Jesse Tobias3:13
6."When Last I Spoke to Carol"Morrissey, Whyte3:24
7."That's How People Grow Up"Morrissey, Boorer2:59
8."One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell"Morrissey, Boorer2:57
9."It's Not Your Birthday Anymore"Morrissey, Whyte5:10
10."You Were Good in Your Time"Morrissey, Whyte5:01
11."Sorry Doesn't Help"Morrissey, Tobias4:03
12."I'm OK by Myself"Morrissey, Tobias4:48
Note: Given the CD is a mockup of a vinyl record, the words "shame is the name" appear on the runout grooves.
Special Edition DVD
  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 10[28]
Mexican Albums Chart 29[29]
Swedish Albums Chart 5[30]
UK Albums Chart 3[10]
U.S. Billboard 200 11[31]


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Silver 60,000^
United States 77,410[33]

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Morrissey signs to Lost Highway". 17 February 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 19 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Roger Joseph Manning Jr ( Jellyfish, Air, Beck) New Album | Kittyradio". Kittyradio. 12 February 2008. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Morrissey Signs to Decca | True to You". True to You. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  5. ^ Nagy, Evie (2 November 2007). "Morrissey Eyeing New Album, 2008 Tour | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Years of Refusal: New Album Information; Southpaw Grammar: Remastered Version Details; Ireland Festival and Concert Dates | True to You". True to You. 30 May 2008. Archived from the original on 10 December 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Boz Boorer Interview". Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Indie 103.1 FM – Jonesy's Jukebox Media Page". Indie 103.1. Archived from the original on 2 September 2008.
  9. ^ "Years of Refusal: Album Cover Artwork and Information | True to You". True to You. 5 December 2008. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Morrissey | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Reviews for Years of Refusal by Morrissey – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  12. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Years of Refusal – Morrissey | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  13. ^ Petridis, Alexis (13 February 2009). "Morrissey, Years of Refusal | Music | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  14. ^ "[Years of Refusal review]". Mojo: 104. March 2009.
  15. ^ Thornton, Anthony (18 February 2009). "NME Reviews – Album Review: Morrissey |". NME. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  16. ^ Garry Mulholland (15 February 2009). "The Observer review". London: Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  17. ^ a b Ewing, Tom (3 February 2009). "Morrissey: Years of Refusal | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  18. ^ a b "[Years of Refusal review]". Q: 90. March 2009.
  19. ^ Hermes, Will (5 February 2009). "Morrissey Years of Refusal Album Review | Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  20. ^ Gross, Joe (28 January 2009). "Morrissey, 'Years of Refusal' Review". Spin. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  21. ^ Kelly, Danny. "Album Review: Morrissey – Years of Refusal – Review –". Uncut. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  22. ^ "Morrissey Rocks Out – News –". Q. 11 December 2008. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  23. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (11 December 2008). "Morrissey Unveils New Album in London | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  24. ^ Rogers, Jude (12 December 2008). "Jude Rogers: A First Review of Morrisey's Years of Refusal | Music | The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Morrissey – Years of Refusal | Reviews | Clash Magazine". Clash. 12 January 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  26. ^ "NME News Morrissey to Write Autobiography |". NME. 22 October 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  27. ^ "Years of Refusal: Album Release Details, Pre-Ordering Information | True to You". True to You. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  28. ^ [2][dead link]
  29. ^ "Mexican Top 100" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  30. ^ "SverigeTopplistan". Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  31. ^ Caulfield, Keith (25 February 2009). "'Slumdog' Barks While Taylor Swift Nets 10th Week At No. 1". Billboard. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  32. ^ "British album certifications – Morrissey – Years of Refusal". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Years of Refusal in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  33. ^

External links[edit]