Morrissey’s Low in High School – greatness marred in politics

Rating: 2/5

Laced with disparaging commentaries of the Western governments, and sympathies for the people defenseless to the Middle Eastern crisis, Morrissey returns with Low in High School: an unsurprisingly melodramatic, politically guided record, largely unenthused and unmemorable, with the tracks hedging into Eastern style manifesting as no more than those employed as backdrops to BBC crime dramas – the record possesses nothing special.  

The opening two tracks, ‘My Love I’d Do Anything For You’ and ‘I Wish You Lonely’ are charmingly reminiscent of the 80s indie-pop romanticism of Morrissey’s prime, yet this nostalgic allure is lost as the record progresses into more experimental, theatrical tracks, desperately grasping for any political significance – there rests an urgency in Morrissey to be leader of the transgressive youth, emanating as he slanders the capitalist greed of America throughout ‘All The Young People Must Fall In Love’ and ‘The Girl From Tel-Aviv’. He then furthers this tyranny towards the British government, as he mocks the fragility of Brexit in ‘Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s On Stage’. Despite their strong political narratives, the tracks themselves are shaky in composition, especially ‘All The Young People’, which struggles uncomfortably to find one consistent rhythm, creating an unnerving, brooding listen.

The concern of the record shifts explicitly in the latter part, marked by the music itself, and the lyrical focus, though at times the attempts on focusing on such third-world issues are almost pitiable and shallow. The theatrical bellowing of “Venezuela” at the end of ‘Who Will Protect Us from the Police?’ is almost as shallow an attempt to force the consciousness of the record as naming the final track ‘Israel’, yet perhaps the apparent ignorance of the Western media, and peoples, necessitates such a focus, and this move is not just an outcome of poor lyricism.

Though despite this sense of glorified morality acting as the foundation for his record, it can be questioned how easily the reality of these views can be shattered, when reflecting on Morrissey’s recent comments on the sex-scandals tearing through the entertainment business. His outwardly moral and righteous persona becomes one that is contrived and veiled in ignorance, undermining an already disappointing record of any indelible meaning.

Image Credit: Pitchfork

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