Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Low In High School By Morrissey ALBUM REVIEW

So there was a time when Morrissey word association games usually went ‘Glasses! Oscar Wilde! Kittens!’…now they’re more likely to go, ‘Farage! Airport security! Italian policemen!’. Morrissey enjoys a devoted global following and yet even they are scratching their heads and wondering just how to react to all of Moz’s strangely contemptuous and ill-advised pronouncements, trying to explain it all away as Morrissey being typically perverse, not playing by the rules and refusing to ‘be nice’. 

 Anyway, what I would say to everyone- naysayer or tattooed follower (and I am in the latter camp- full disclosure here- no fake news)- just play the first track on Low In High School – My Love I’d Do Anything For You- earsplittingly loud, stomp your glam boots, use wooden spoons and saucepans as make shift drums and practice elephant style bellowing noises and forget all the UKIP silliness- Morrissey is STILL a godamn genius, I’m afraid, and you ain’t getting away from that easily. I’m not saying that the album is perfect all the way though and there are some serious horse troughs of woefulness there. For example; the weirdly leaden and rambling anti-soldier diatribe I Bury the Living. Morrissey can be brilliant on masculinity- I refer you to I’m Not A Man on World Peace is Not of Your Business- hell, I’ll even refer you to Vicar in a Tutu if you want to go back to 1986’s The Queen is Dead, but this just feels like back of a beermat writing. I don’t like the silly artwork on the cover and Who Will Protect Us from The Police is basically the same sentiment as live favourite Ganglord (which Morrissey helpfully accompanies with a montage of US police brutality).

 But I’ve known committed Morrissey despisers to hum Spent the Day in the Bed over the last few months, especially with the amount of airplay it has received (which surely even Morrissey couldn’t complain about), and All the Young People Must Fall In Love is a charming dismissal of world leaders (‘Presidents come, presidents go, And nobody remembers their name two weeks after they go’) interspersed with young love- ‘the kids around here have the best idea’. And there are many times on this album when Morrissey’s voice sounds truly magnificent- just listen to the final bars of Home is a Question Mark- he might not be breaking into falsetto anymore, but his voice has a strength and richness to it that is undiminished despite the rigours of endless touring and intermittent poor health. Second single Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on Stage is a quirky, self-referencing exploration of how the allure of fame and adulation can make everyday life seem deceptively meaningless (‘Jacky cracks when she isn’t on stage’)-   and is another stomper. It might not have bellowing elephant calls but a killer chorus of ‘Exit! Exit! Everyone is heading for the exit!’ is guaranteed to get into your head – so take the easy way and give in.


Lyn Lockwood is a teacher and writer living in Sheffield. She has been listening to Morrissey since she first heard Reel Around the Fountain on John Peel  in 1980-something

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