Years of Refusal

Age can undermine lesser rockers. But time's cruel toll just validates Morrissey's morbid drama-queen spiels — to paraphrase a lyric from his old band the Smiths, he has earned it, baby. Of course, he'd be insufferable if he wasn't also so hilarious. His ninth album, Years of Refusal, stares down existential dread with muscular glam-rock riffs, cheesy synths, heroic mariachi flourishes and a whole lot of punch lines. "No true friends in modern life," Morrissey declaims on the emo opener, then counts off a list of mood-control drugs. "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" goes for global branding, while the Spanish-tinged "You Were Good in Your Time" conjures a washed-up idol. Thankfully, it ain't autobiography yet.