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Album Review // MORRISSEY ‘Low In High School’

Oh how the mighty has fallen. 

Once flourishing as his lyrical descriptions depicting a sense of alienation, Morrissey fails to recognise that coming of age includes the reality of acting grown up. What makes a young man seem interesting, exotic even, seems to only portray denial and grumpiness once age strikes.

Starting off with flashy rock moves on My Love, I’d Do Anything For You, Morrissey plays up the old tricks from the beginning. His vocals, clearly announcing his all-consuming opinions from the start. Sonically, the music itself is interesting, but on a Morrissey record, it is ultimately all about him, and this, unfortunately, overshadows the palpable show and majestic turns of the soundscape.

Another teasing note is the mystery clinging to Home Is A Question Mark, introducing a fling of The Smiths nostalgia, it’s soon over-run by the pompous tendency of the man himself, a delicious bass line aside. Morrissey is too farfetched to grasp the potential in his sound, despite the fling of optimism, the eternal narcissistic tendencies of a lead singer runs far too deep to make the album what it could have / should have been.

Contextualised in the current climate, the sexual nature of Morrissey’s lyrics seems slightly absurd. Unfortunate as the timing may be, there is undeniably slightly odd that a man of his age still seems to find such astonishment when someone spreads their legs.

Whereas The Smiths used the cliché and flamboyant as a disarming angle, tinting it with their working class roots and savvy lyrics, Morrissey seems to grasp for the same straws, seemingly ignoring the position that age and wealth puts you in. Whilst his gloom and doom may once have seem timely, and even sardonic, it now falls in the not so charming category of grumpy.

Despite lashing out criticism in all directions, talking religion as well as modern media, Morrissey fails to hit a cohesive point, or even frame a somewhat palpable argument. The Girl From Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel is almost painfully obvious, it’s not enough to slap a geographical controversy in a song, it needs a personal touch.

Once cherished for his intellectual edge, the edge itself seems to rust under the bitterness clinging to his current work, yet there are some true, though few, heartfelt moments on the record. A singular sentence of honest hope, like on All The Young People Must Fall In Love, though a tad cheesy, at least it pierces through the cynical approach.

Low In High School is a bit of a clusterfuck. A half-desperate attempt to stay relevant, without really taking in the true context of the day and age. As an eternal nostalgic I’d have to say, Morrissey – you can do so much better. Just shake of the ego centric attitude, the smug lines, and the stock melodies. Morrissey has never been known for his bliss, yet the question is, does the sadboy alibi really work for a rich guy in his late 50’s?