Morrissey – Low In High School – Album Review by Killian Laher
Solo album number 11 from Morrissey and, as is the norm these days, it’s accompanied by awful utterances spewed from the man himself, closely followed by a tidal wave of outrage and condemnation. It’s exhausting before the album even begins! Morrissey has a long established band of collaborators at this stage, led by Boz Boorer, who have a rather bludgeoning style, eschewing for the most part any subtlety. This suits the opener pretty well, pounding rocker My Love I’d Do Anything For You. Horror of horrors, it starts out just like Bon Jovi’s Living On A Prayer, but improves from there into a tough-sounding rocker, albeit with horns, drum rolls and the kitchen sink thrown in. I Wish You Lonely is fairly standard-issue late period Morrissey, while Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage makes a good case for being the best song on the album. He hasn’t yet lost his gift for melody with this being a fairly strident yet brooding song. Home Is A Question Mark is also good, in a different way, it’s an airy, regretful ballad, something befitting a man in his late fifties, unlike much of the rest of the album.
Spent the Day In Bed has a decent melody and vocal but it’s sunk by an over-busy arrangement. I Bury The Living, which follows, attempts to cram as many ideas as possible into one song. Morrissey rants, “give me an order, I’ll blow up your border” as the band chant “cannon foddah, cannon foddah”. Not much to redeem this one. Lyrically, the wordSmith of old is long gone. These days he’s preoccupied with physical matters on delicate piano ballad In Your Lap and pseudo-Euro cabaret When You Open Your Legs, accompanied by music that is little more than passable. The Girl From Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel almost sounds like a continuation of the aforementioned In Your Lap, with practically the same musical backing. Better are playful, seventies-style ballad All The Young People Must Fall In Love, complete with handclaps and the brooding, slow-building Who Will Protect Us From The Police?. These tracks suit Morrissey quite well. Israel rounds off the album with something of a whimper, with some questionable sentiment thrown in. Like a diary entry, most of this will be looked back on in years to come with a cringe at best.
The overall effect is that of having eaten a bit of every single dish in a not very good (vegan) restaurant. So there you are, an at times enjoyable and at others baffling album from Morrissey. Not destined for classic status I suspect.
Set List –
1. My Love I’d Do Anything For You
2. I Wish You Lonely
3. Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage
4. Home Is A Question Mark
5. Spent The Day In Bed
6. I Bury The Living
7. In Your Lap
8. The Girl From Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel
9. All The Young People Must Fall In Love
10. When You Open Your Legs
11. Who Will Protect Us From The Police?
Spent The Day In Bed