Morrissey – Low in High School
People love to shit on Morrissey, ’cause, come on, it’s Morrissey, but at 58 years old and on his 11th solo studio album, he is still writing better songs and has a better voice than most of his contemporaries and children in the music industry that are less than half his age, and he does this by being blessed with raw talent, but also by just being real and brutally honest, all without the use of Auto-Tuning effects and all that bullshit. Love him or loathe him, Morrissey is as real as it gets. In the modern musical landscape that’s plagued with mostly marketing and very little music, Low In High School, albeit depressing at times, is a breath of fresh air.
The record starts off strong with “My Love, I’d Do Anything For You,” an impressive, almost big-band sounding arrangement with horns, synths, and all the trappings. The album then takes a dive on the second track with the slightly nonsensical “I Wish You Lonely.” Morrissey bounces back, though, with “Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on the Stage,” a straightforward, in-focus, mid-tempo rock ‘n’ roll number with some nice string arrangements. “Home Is a Question Mark” is the first song on the record to invoke that old school, classic Morrissey sound that the true Morrissey fans are sure to really appreciate. This leads us straight into the album’s single, the centerpiece and best song on the record, “Spent the Day in Bed,” a simple but perfectly produced song where Morrissey warns us to “stop watching the news, because the news contrives to frighten you, to make you feel small and alone, to make you feel that your mind isn’t your own.” Perhaps a nod to the 24-hour-news-cycle or to even social media? There’s such a thin line between staying informed and being inundated these days, right?
“I Bury the Living” is the longest cut on the record at 7:25 and it literally feels about double that, it just drags on and on, and it’s very hard to listen to. “In Your Lap” is a ominous, boring piano ballad that doesn’t go anywhere. “The Girl from Tel Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel” is a fine song, but it doesn’t fit in with the other songs on the album at all. With “All the Young People Must Fall in Love,” Morrissey finally gets back into form with a song makes sense for him. “When You Open Your Legs” is a song title/lyrics only Morrissey could get away with in today’s over-the-top PC culture. “Who Will Protect Us from the Police?” turns out to be the second strongest song on the record right behind “Spent the Day in Bed,” while the closing track, “Israel” (and I hate to say this), is Morrissey doing Nick Cave almost better than Nick Cave.
This is not the best Morrissey record by a long shot, but it’s not the worst either. For hardcore Morrissey fans this is a must, although casual fans should probably pass.
Low In High School