Low in High School gets off to a promising start with tracks about love, loneliness and lost dreams. It then goes downhill very quickly with misplaced politics, clunky wordplay and embarrassing sex references.
Artists who use their music to promote a positive political message are on the rise. Morrissey, however, needs to shut up. It is no surprise that his 11th solo album takes a somewhat tone-deaf approach to political issues. His defiantly outspoken views make him seem more like your racist uncle than the relateable pope of mope he was once thought to be. The album’s longest track, I Bury the Living fails to say anything in particular. Setting the album’s pacifist tone, it attacks “just an innocent soldier” rather than commenting on any of the systems used to promote war. Five-minutes into the track, a softer melody saves it, reminding that Morrissey always does sadness better than he does politics. This is why the first half of the album is incomparably the better half. ‘Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage’ reigns as the strongest track. Jacky joins the legacy of dissatisfied, disenfranchised women in the Morrissey canon, stifled by her ambition outweighing her talent.
Low in High School certainly proves that Morrissey is still deserving of the Bad Sex Award for his writing. Lyrics like “wrap your legs around my face” and “I just want my face in your lap” sit uncomfortably on the record. ‘When You Open Your Legs’ is equally jarring, with Morrissey unconvincingly singing about clubbing at 4am, which is one of the least Moz things imaginable.
Stand out tracks include ‘My Love I’d Do Anything For You’ and ‘Home Is A Question Mark’, but ultimately Low in High School falls short in its attempt to be politically subversive without a single reference to life in Trump’s America. Whilst the first half of the album offers promising tracks, it is clear that Morrissey has become too bitter and outspoken to produce a truly exciting album.