12 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On his eleventh studio album, Steven Morrissey beholds the choppy water of a polarised age and effectively grabs a surfboard. Bracing, black-skied, and wrapped in lyrical barb-wire, Low in High School finds the former Smiths frontman taking on modern propagandists (“My Love, I’d Do Anything For You”), abusive authority figures (“Who Will Protect Us from the Police?”), and lust amid political revolution (“In Your Lap”). There’s melodic light to balance the dark imagery, though. “Spent the Day in Bed”—a stately, piano-sprinkled riposte to the horror of 24-hour news—may be one of the most deftly effective songs he’s produced in a decade.

Apple Digital Master

EDITORS’ NOTES

On his eleventh studio album, Steven Morrissey beholds the choppy water of a polarised age and effectively grabs a surfboard. Bracing, black-skied, and wrapped in lyrical barb-wire, Low in High School finds the former Smiths frontman taking on modern propagandists (“My Love, I’d Do Anything For You”), abusive authority figures (“Who Will Protect Us from the Police?”), and lust amid political revolution (“In Your Lap”). There’s melodic light to balance the dark imagery, though. “Spent the Day in Bed”—a stately, piano-sprinkled riposte to the horror of 24-hour news—may be one of the most deftly effective songs he’s produced in a decade.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.0 out of 5
126 Ratings

126 Ratings

TWDJH ,

Morrissey's Hip Hop Album

I was at first quite critical of this album, but I have come around to the view that this is arguably Morrissey’s best album since Your Arsenal. Morrissey has released a disciplined, poignant and musically adventurous album that asserts a solid point of view from the opening track in both music and lyrics, and then advances that thesis for the remaining eleven tracks. Musically, Morrissey’s band explores new territory beyond the comfort of jangle pop on a record that sounds better played loud.

My love, I’d Do Anything For You opens the album with a swaggering punch between the eyes. Morrissey uses the track to outline the overarching themes of the album that reflect not only the rage many people are feeling about the state of the world today in both the international and domestic arenas, but also in the apathy Morrissey seems to feel hinders better prospects for the future. He is critical of the way the societies that have deployed military overseas and militarized police on their streets, have disassociated themselves from the repercussions these aggressions while looking for feel-good distractions from those brutal acts which are committed on their behalf. These themes remain consistent throughout the entire album.

The Girl from Tel Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel seems to be about hegemonic imperialism and an individual who is willing to stand up to it. While Morrissey borrows from the writings of Etty Hillesum, the victim of the holocaust who famously writes, "The sky is full of birds, the purple lupins stand up so regally and peacefully, two little old women have sat down for a chat, the sun is shining on my face - and right before our eyes, mass murder... The whole thing is simply beyond comprehension." This passage encapsulates the heart of this album. Moreover, Morrissey plays a gender switch and personally inhabits the character as representative of himself as he feels he has, throughout his career, stood up to critics, record companies, tabloids, governments and norms. He feels he has been true to himself without compromise. This may be the linchpin of the album.

In an era where rock music has largely abdicated its legacy as social provocateur (It says nothing to me about my life), and when even a few in hip-hop dare venture into sensitive issues, Morrissey has delivered a salient and disciplined political album with a very strong and cohesive thesis that fearlessly confronts our modern truths with urgency and forces us to reflect on why we allow these truths to perpetuate. He chastises us all for seeking easy distractions from these issues instead of calling for the heads of those responsible. He makes us question why, in an era of runaway warfare against innocent civilians at home and abroad, so few artists in music dare to address these themes head on if at all. Where has the outrage gone? Have we become so complacent or defeated to allow the current state of affairs to become the status quo? Low in High School is a daring thematic and stylistic departure for Morrissey and for the genre. I feel this is an album that has not been more thoughtfully evaluated by critics who seem to dismiss Morrissey outright without a careful consideration of his music. This is an album that will later be reevaluated and reassessed as a classic in the canon of Morrissey. Thematically speaking, this is Morrissey’s hip-hop album.

SpareP1 ,

The record we all need for 2017

Fantastic record. Stop watching the news and start listening to Moz.

Julesab7 ,

Mozers at his best!!

Listened to the entire album once through and loving it. Some really nice surprises. Excellent record.

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