MIXED BAG FROM ICONIC SINGER
In our post–Trump era, where opinion is king, facts have alternatives, and even the nightly news is fake, fake, “FAKE!”, a little clarity of purpose goes a long way. Sadly, there’s nothing on Low In High
School that will clear the murky waters of public opinion that surround Ol’ Mozza’s apparent political persuasions. More damningly, there’s also little of the passion, wit, and romantic truth that, in the past, came so easily to the self–proclaimed Mayor of Manchester.
Sure, we still get classic Morrissey couplets like, “If I get there, would you meet me?/ Wrap your legs around my face just to greet me?” And epic opener ‘My Love, I’d Do Anything For You’ rumbles on with a satisfying glam–stomp, before blooming into a horn– led outro that wouldn’t be out of place on a John Barry Bond score. It must also be said that Joe Chiccarelli’s production is immaculate throughout, and Boz Boorer is still Moz’s best foil since Johnny Marr.
But, new–found passion for the joys of oral sex aside, the characters most celebrated on this collection of songs are all youthful idealists, dedicated to the honorable pursuits of freedom, justice and art – set against a backdrop of bloody war.
Their sacrifice and activism is starkly contrasted with Morrissey’s decision to take to his bed, cutting himself off from the ‘Fake News’, spilling only ink while his characters spill their blood. Has he finally resigned himself to a disconnection from the lustful youth that fuelled his career’s best moments?
Indeed, there’s a (likely unintended) whiff of “Let them eat cake” from lines like, “I spent the day in bed, while the workers stay enslaved”, and
“In sheets for which I paid, I am now laid”. It’s hard to know what his point of view is here, and that’s something new for Morrissey – an artist famed for leading with opinion, and rarely short of a direct riposte. OUT NOVEMBER 17 / PETER McNALLY