By Justin Fosdick – 1851 Staff
On November 17, Morrissey released his eleventh album, “Low In High School” and the veteran artist shows poise and expertise in his pristinely recorded work.
The cover features an image of a young boy sporting a Morrissey tee, standing outside an exquisite gate with a sign reading “Axe the Monarchy.” The album is an emotional and awakening trip, with Morrissey’s old, but still precious, voice droning over a distinguished and well-produced alternative rock sound. His somber tone drifts through each track, providing a mysterious and moody backdrop for his well-crafted lyrics.
The many guitar tracks are layered neatly over each other, with just the right amount of reverb and echo effect to fit the intention of each song. The opening track, “My Love, I’d Do Anything for You,” comes in heavy with guitar feedback and robust cymbal work from the drums, only to be supported by a horn section in each bridge. The next song, “I Wish You Lonely,” implicates exactly what the title wants, during which Morrissey holds out his sorrowful lyrics over a dreamy groove.
The album’s lyrical content warns listeners about media lies and fake news. “Spent the Day in Bed” advises people to stop watching the news, as it is designed to “frighten” and instead to pay more attention to reality instead. Although it is thoughtful and carefully composed, the 53 minutes of the album begin to drag towards the middle. It becomes mundane when each song seems to contain the same array of instruments and effects.
The album sticks to its disgruntled theme, but lacks diversity and progression. With old age does not come any rust for Morrissey; his voice remains golden even when reaching for higher notes. The instruments compliment his voice, and several tracks fade in and out in perfect balance to each other. The second half of the album features harmonizing ballads over piano, such as “In Your Lap,” “The Girl from Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel,” and “Israel.”
Morrisey’s newest work has an edge to it that’s more definite than we’ve seen in the past. There aren’t many bright spots on this album, as it is a monotone and dark piece. With that said, it is still exciting to see another long-time artist continue to produce quality work that clearly exemplifies a dedication to making music.