Album Review: Morrissey - 'Low in High School'

After much anticipation, Steven Patrick MORRISSEY brings us his first album in 3 years; along with a list of UK tour dates much to our surprise (the 58-year old previously said that his last UK tour may be his final one). After hearing Morrissey’s first single, ‘Spent the Day In Bed’, the direction the album would take was unclear, though if it was to be anything like the single, it could be assumed that it was to be fantastically charismatic, overtly angry at the government, and extremely contagious. ‘Spent the Day in Bed’ has been received both positively and negatively, and in true Moz style is very controversial. Although the line ‘stop watching the news’ is relatively idiotic, we’d be fools to claim we haven’t all thought about it! Despite the provocative lyrics, ‘Spent the Day in Bed’ certainly fits the powerful and slightly psychedelic musicality of the album as a whole.

It is a known fact that what Morrissey’s solo music lacks (and what the Smith’s had) is the mighty force of a vigorous band behind him (or Johnny Marr if we’re being specific), however, ‘My Love I’d Do Anything For You’ and ‘Who Will Protect Us From The Police’ deserve a mention due their explosion of electric noise and eruption of percussion. Morrissey also did not fail to disappoint his much awaited views on Brexit, as demonstrated in the repetition in the cleverly named ‘Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage’ as he chants ‘Everybody’s running to the Exit’. Although this particular song is crucial to the album, it is excessively repetitive and musically uninspiring, aside from the manic, childlike voices towards the end. Morrissey’s repetitiveness may simply be down to laziness, as demonstrated in ‘All the Young People Must Fall in Love’. Moz recently performed this track on Jools Holland and due to the uncomfortable humming to fill the second verse, it seemed as though he’d forgotten his words, but apparently not! And it’s not like he’s left us with an instrumental exciting piece of music; it’s folky, strangely Christmassy, and very UN-MORRISSEY.

Morrissey shows glimpses of the ‘World Peace Is None of Your Business’ album in the tracks ‘The Girl from Tel Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel’ and ‘When You Open Your Legs’ as both have a Latino flavour and a Spanish warmth, although it must be noted that the latter song is surprisingly crude for the closed book that is Morrissey. It is clear to say that Morrissey sure hasn’t lost his powerful though tender pipes, as he shows us his prodigious vocal ability at the end of ‘Home Is A Question Mark’ with a haunting, belter of a note. ‘Home Is a Question Mark’ is a beautifully honest track that has a perfect combination of eerie, psychedelic backing keys and an exhilarating use of percussion as the song progresses.

Despite the occasional repetitiveness, and the odd overly-Morrissey lyric, ‘Low in High School’ is a cracking album, and a beautiful way to play out a manic year. Good job Moz!

Photo credit: Monika Stolarska

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