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Ringleader of the Tormentors

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Morrissey

It ain’t easy being Moz, but at least the icon of self-loathing can take heart in his refined miserableness. Not the invigorating wake-up that was 2004’s You Are the Quarry, his new album, Ringleader of the Tormentors — recorded in Rome with producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie) — feels more like an elegiac memoir. Harrowingly beautiful violins abound on ”Dear God, Please Help Me,” but all instruments only serve to accent, for better or worse, Morrissey’s still-hooky torch-singer confessions.

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