Morrissey has accused Capitol Records of “fascism” after the label shelved his latest album ‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’.
The controversy around the album stems back to 2022, when the singer-songwriter and former Smiths frontman revealed that he had “voluntarily withdrawn from any association with Capitol Records” — despite announcing that he would be releasing the LP with them just two months earlier.
He also revealed that Miley Cyrus — who recorded backing vocals for ‘Bonfire’ track ‘I Am Veronica’ in 2020 — had asked to have her vocals removed from the song.
Both severed partnerships came in relation to the musician’s political stance and his support for controversial far-right anti-Islam political party For Britain, which he previously wore a badge for during a 2019 television appearance.
Upon announcing his departure from Capitol, the label seemingly shelved ‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’ in February, and the album remains unreleased. Now, in a new statement released on his website, Morrissey has accused the brand of “fascism” and having a “creeping culture of censorship”.
“It’s a clear display of how censorian the music industry has become. It is a new part of the music industry that does not work and that nobody likes,” he wrote. “Music should be the primary democracy … There is no point banning ‘Bonfire of Teenagers’ because somebody somewhere might be offended if they heard it. Why waste time on other people’s mental incapacities?”
“And where is Capitol’s support for the kids who were murdered in that Manchester bonfire on 22 May 2017? Although Capitol claims to be a label of ‘diversity’ it is very difficult to see their humanity,” he added.
“If you are only prepared to release music that draws people’s minds away from thinking then you are unfit for any contact with creative people. Songs are literary compositions, and writing music should be an unrestricted open form. It seems to me that Capitol Records cannot observe the possibility that their artists or their potential customers have ever thought. But silencing certain artists achieves nothing, and simply makes the bonfire burn taller and louder.”
Elsewhere in the update, the singer also criticised American music executive Michelle Jubelirer, who he claimed played a vital role in “removing” ‘World Peace is None Of Your Business’ (his tenth studio album) from shelves because she was “determined that it could not sell or be heard.”
“The same creeping culture of censorship at Capitol Records has taken place with ‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’, and the civic structure of Capitol now appears fascist,” he claimed at the end of the post. “I still have hope in the music industry, but there are evidently several powerful faces within it that have no honest interest in music … and you follow them into the shadows at your peril.”
This isn’t the first time that Morrissey has criticised Capitol after parting ways with the label. Back in February, he released a statement on his website saying that he was “quickly coming around to” the belief that the brand only signed ‘Bonfire Of Teenagers’ “in order to sabotage it”.
He also wrote another update later that month, claiming that the label “proudly promotes Sam Smith’s ‘satanism’” but see “‘Bonfire of Teenagers’ to be their biggest threat”. The alleged “satanism” he refers to in the statement was presumably Smith’s appearance at the 2023 Grammys, where they appeared alongside Kim Petras to perform ‘Unholy’, wearing a hat with devilish horns coming out of it.
“Although the Left changed and deserted me many years ago, I am most certainly not Far Right… My politics are straightforward: I recognise realities,” he said at the time. Here, he also claimed that Miley Cyrus’s withdrawal from the album was due to “cancel vultures”.
In other Morrissey news, back in April the former Smiths member announced details of a summer UK tour for July 2023, and pulled out of his previously announced London Crystal Palace date.