Ringleader of the Tormentors

Studio Album by released in 2006
Ringleader of the Tormentors's tracklist:
I Will See You in Far Off Places
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Dear God Please Help Me
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You Have Killed Me
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The Youngest Was the Most Loved
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In the Future When All's Well
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The Father Who Must Be Killed
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Life Is a Pigsty
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I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now
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On the Streets I Ran
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To Me You Are a Work of Art
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I Just Want to See the Boy Happy
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At Last I Am Born
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Ringleader of the Tormentors review

Ringleader Of The Tormentors is the eighth solo studio album from Morrissey

One of the most influential figures in alternative rock, Morrissey's legendarily sensitive, melancholy persona made him a highly polarizing icon, reviled in some quarters with nearly the same intensity he inspired in his passionately devoted fans. As the lead singer of The Smiths, arguably the most important indie band in Britain during the '80s, Morrissey's theatrical crooning and literate, poetic lyrics – filled with romantic angst, social alienation, and cutting wit – connected powerfully with a legion of similarly sensitive, disaffected youth. Ringleader Of The Tormentors is the eighth solo studio album from this Mancunian vocalist. In a departure from his previous albums, Morrissey has chosen to incorporate Morricone-esque strings and arrangements into his songs, making for a more sweeping and cinema-esque sound, whilst lyrically his usual themes of rejection and redemption are still present, which should ensure that this album will repeat the success of his 2004 comeback album, You Are The Quarry. Ringleader Of The Tormentors is the story of a life all his other songs have only hinted at – it has a kind of exhilarating, intimate suddenness the way it appears after years of him never quite out-doing his early classic work and sometimes seemingly trapped inside his own myth. From the day he was born, through the streets of Manchester, out into the mean world of sinister places and demanding people, to the day he never actually died – it's all here.

First single You Have Killed Me has enough terrace/dancefloor appeal

I Will See You In Far Off Places raises the chequered flag on the record with an eastern, almost baggy groove coupled with synthetic percussion and blazing guitars. Should Morrissey ever disappear with Kasabian for a fortnight in Tunisia, this could well be the end result and stomps satisfyingly through to a trademark, yodelling conclusion. The first twist comes with track two. As the whirl of guitar fades and we're entertained by little more than an organ and tinkling xylophone. It sounds suspiciously like an ode to a significant other, delivered with such pit-of-the-stomach emotion that even a football hooligan could shed a bucket of tears. No sooner have the hankies been passed round, we're back on planet pop with You Have Killed Me, the first and most obvious single choice with enough terrace/dancefloor appeal to cut an uncompromising swathe through the charts. Morrissey's empathy with those stuck in dysfunctional family life starts on The Youngest Was The Most Loved here and eventually resurfaces during The Father Who Must Be Killed. The sound of falling rain kicks-off over seven minutes of Life Is A Pigsty. It is more like four songs is one and has Morrissey veering tantalizingly close to New Order. After falling in love and dying, At Last I Am Born sees the album out on an unashamed wave of optimism and brings the undoubted pleasure of Ringleader Of The Tormentors to an end.

Recorded in Rome with long-term hero Tony Visconti, the album crackles with fire

If Morrissey ever gives up the chase and lets us know what has made him tick for the last 23 years, then his every move will become less fascinating to fans, detractors and press alike. Fortunately there is no immediate danger of us getting any closer to the real Morrissey with new album. Instead, and more typically, it is book-ended with statements of death and birth, taking in love, sex and nostalgia along the way. For the fragile of heart or the easily confused, Ringleader Of The Tormentors has enough changes in tempo and mood to leave you utterly confounded or flapping around on the floor gasping for air. A savagely alive record, Ringleader Of The Tormentors is an album of a different complexion that all previous Morrissey records. It seems somehow suffused with a new confidence, openness and, dare one venture, happiness. Recorded in Rome with long-term hero Tony Visconti (who previously worked with T Rex and David Bowie), the album positively crackles with fire. Visconti helps transform Morrissey's dogged oddness and phenomenal fussiness into pure magic. Far more direct and rocking than You Are The Quarry, Morrissey was even able to enlist the legendary Ennio Morricone on the thrilling frank and open Dear God, Help Me Please. Older, wiser and socking it to us in grand fashion, the hype that surrounds Morrissey's every move is justified once again with a newer take on old themes and, to some, the shocking revelation that he's smiling on the inside as well as the outside. Love him or hate him, there's no one better at loving and hating.