Morrissey getting Low in High School

Credit: Morrissey

[/dropcap]The release of Morrisey’s 11th studio album “Low in High School” marks his first return to music since 2014. When Morrissey made his infamous first tweet ‘Spent the day in Bed” on September 18th, that along with the release of the first single of the same name from his new album sent the hype machine into overdrive. 

While “Spent the day in bed” may have been our first introduction to this album, its soft and introspective tones were by no means an accurate or fair depiction of the albums twelve track offering. Its general choice of biting instrumentals seems to have given it a wilful ugliness that contrasts greatly with the smooth and angelic tones that we have come to expect of the man.

Prior to the album’s release, his record label described it as  “capturing the zeitgeist of an ever-changing world,” and while that may be true, those fans who have grown isolated by his increasingly confusing and worrying political commentary may find this album to be the nail in the coffin. 

Going outside of the Anglocentric topics he usually covers, Morrissey decided in the writing of this album that his mighty political commentary warranted a stab at the conflicts in the Middle-East, police brutality in Venezuela and the anti-war movement. 

His simplistic and somewhat juvenile views are highlighted in tracks like “I Bury the Living” a seven-minute odyssey in which Moz seems to be mocking and sneering at a fallen soldier for his part in the war as well as the mother who’s been left behind. This track is slightly redeemed by  “All the Young People Must Fall in Love’ and “The Girl from Tel-Aviv who wouldn’t kneel”. The latter in which he tackles the conflicts of the middle east with the piercingly insightful lyric “the land weeps oil, what do you think all these armies are for?”

Protension at the hands of Morrissey is something that should not come as a surprise to any listener who’s heard his work before, but in this album, it’s taken a nasty turn and his voice which was once the voice of difference and insight has become one of apathy and derision.

However there is a return to the introspective, self-aware wisdom of Morrissey’s lyrics in tracks such as “Jacky’s only happy when she’s on stage” a track that covers the slow death of a washed-up star, and “Home is a Question Mark”, a gem that’s sure to please his fans that have been with him since the Smiths.

Low in High School is exactly the facile, loud, politically charged yet introspective album one would expect from the jaded aging Morrissey himself, so in that sense, it’s exactly what it says on the tin. But on the subject of whether or not to run out and purchase this album, I’d suggest making like the first single and spending the day in bed. 

Aoife Horan