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A departure for Morrissey

British singer/songwriter Morrissey has become an enormous influence on many modern-day bands who are part of the alternative and independent scenes.

With the recent release of his album "Ringleader of the Tormentors," it's not hard to see why he has received so much praise from his cultlike following. Those who are familiar with his previous work will be pleased to find that Morrissey has blended his classic nostalgic tones while exploring new territory as he experiments with violin ballads and some of the most heavy-hitting rock music of his career. While it is somewhat of a departure from his usual sound, even the most devout fans of his early work will be amazed by Morrissey's new material.

Morrissey's unique voice has often been characterized as an "acquired taste" as it is considerably different from many other mainstream vocalists and is sometimes slightly peculiar for first-time listeners. On "Ringleader", however, his haunting, yet somber voice has never sounded quite as stunning before. And with some of the most personal and beautifully dark lyrics incorporated in such an elegant production, accessibility will hardly be a difficultly for any newcomers to the genre.

Under the production of Tony Visconti of David Bowie fame, Morrissey has assembled an unbelievably grandiose and diverse assortment of material. Highlights on "Ringleader" include the mournfully moving "Dear God, Please Help Me", the lovable first single, "You Have Killed Me", and the eerily cryptic "The Father Who Must Be Killed." The album only suffers from a few lesser tracks such as "On the Streets I Ran" and "I Just Want to See the Boy Happy."

Even so, "Ringleader of the Tormentors" is one of Morrissey's finest works in recent years.

Stephen Wilger is a senior at North Collins.

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