'High School' / 'California' / 'Dog' trilogy of albums

Mozzer1980

Well-Known Member
I think that it is impossible to create one masterpiece from these three albums. Each of them is different and has its own charm. Besides, mixing original songs with covers on one album would not work in the case of Morrissey ( It's not Bowie, where covers have worked on several LP's ) I also think taht Low in High School is a bit underrated and the Dog album is a bit overrated .
 

Fake C

Measured, Found Wanting
Can we discuss these three albums as a form of trilogy please? I also view them that way anyway, and I am not sure if I am alone in that.

Anyway, I do feel that, interestingly, Low in High School is actually the weakest of the bunch. Many of the additional tracks (i.e. covers) were actually better than the main album - which seamlessly lead to California Son - which I do feel is actually somewhat underrated by the fans. I think it has some of his strongest vocals in his entire career.

Which then brings us to I Am Not A Dog on A Chain - which continues to unfold its charms and weave itself into my Moz album rankings to the top half really. The first 7 tracks on the album are literally one punch after another. It suffers a bit towards the final third and 'The Secret Of Music' is one of his worst recordings in my opinion.

I used to think whether combining the three into one album would have made one killer M album, but actually I think that I Am Not a Dog on A Chain is by far the strongest of the three, and it is interesting how in that short burst of creativity he was clearly on an upward swing.

Which, of course, means that I am super excited for Bonfire of Teenagers.
Can you say why you see them as a trilogy?
 

AtImber2022

Seasick, Yet Still Docked
If the worst that can be said about Dog is that it's not up there with the likes of Vauxhall, Arsenal etc. and the best that can be said about it is that it's a (vast) improvement on High School, then I'm happy with that!
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
This era of Morrissey doesn't burn down the disco; it is the disco.
I find it very curious that still in this day and age somebody considers any kind of electronica a lower form of music. Even the term "disco" is derogatory and very old-fashioned. I find the synthpop leanings of Dog very welcome and applaud Chiccarelli's work in general. The chug rock sound had definitely grown stale.

As for the main subject: to me LIHS, CS and IANADOAC are just three consecutive albums with the same producer. That doesn't make it a trilogy any more than Vauxhall, Southpaw and Maladjusted. Replacing CS with World Peace doesn't change my opinion. All three albums have their ups and downs, but to me World Peace has shown itself to be the most durable album, especially with the bonus disc included. I don't find LIHS an abomination the way many people do, I think the first five songs roll on strongly and Israel is a great closer (despite some dodgy lyrics). The bonus tracks don't really add anything to the album though, definitely not the way the WP extras do.
 

crotty32

Active Member
I'm not clever enough to join these albums but I like Low,Cal son was maybe slightly interesting and Dog was at the very least progressive.It can't be said that Morrissey is stagnant,as I have said before when I hear the songs sung live they are "better " more "substantial " I don't know but I really need to see Morrissey live.
 

Aubrey McFate

Burn down the disco
I find it very curious that still in this day and age somebody considers any kind of electronica a lower form of music. Even the term "disco" is derogatory and very old-fashioned. I find the synthpop leanings of Dog very welcome and applaud Chiccarelli's work in general. The chug rock sound had definitely grown stale.

It is a lower form of music. I think it's strange that the Smiths were the antithesis of dance and electronica in the 80s, something which Morrissey wore proudly on his sleeve, and now he's embracing the genre and many fans think it's great. At this point, pretending for a moment that Groove is in the Heart, Everybody Wang Chung Tonight, and New Attitude were never written, Gustavo Manzur could write them now, Morrissey could put lyrics to the music, and many people here would think it's brilliant and embrace his new adventurous change in direction. I'd think they're horrible songs. Disco sucked then and it still sucks now.
 

Aubrey McFate

Burn down the disco
I just remembered, though, that Morrissey had an inexplicable fondness for Pete Burns of Dead or Alive in the 80s, and I don't think he criticized their music, which you would expect him to do. So maybe all his bluster against Prince, the Thompson Twins, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Frankie Goes To Hollywood was just empty bluster, and he's secretly enjoyed that kind of music all along. This would fit into Brummie Boy's unique conspiracy theory: that Morrissey in the 80s was a Manchurian Candidate for the radical feminist wing of "the Establishment," but in the long run it wasn't successful, and Steven got out. The liking of Pete Burns might've been an early instance of the MK-Ultra (or the demonic possession) losing its grip on him.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
I just remembered, though, that Morrissey had an inexplicable fondness for Pete Burns of Dead or Alive in the 80s, and I don't think he criticized their music, which you would expect him to do. So maybe all his bluster against Prince, the Thompson Twins, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Frankie Goes To Hollywood was just empty bluster, and he's secretly enjoyed that kind of music all along. This would fit into Brummie Boy's unique conspiracy theory: that Morrissey in the 80s was a Manchurian Candidate for the radical feminist wing of "the Establishment," but in the long run it wasn't successful, and Steven got out. The liking of Pete Burns might've been an early instance of the MK-Ultra (or the demonic possession) losing its grip on him.
A bit ballsy/extreme to mention Michael and Prince in the same breath as FGtH and the f***ing Thompson Twins.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
It is a lower form of music. I think it's strange that the Smiths were the antithesis of dance and electronica in the 80s, something which Morrissey wore proudly on his sleeve, and now he's embracing the genre and many fans think it's great. At this point, pretending for a moment that Groove is in the Heart, Everybody Wang Chung Tonight, and New Attitude were never written, Gustavo Manzur could write them now, Morrissey could put lyrics to the music, and many people here would think it's brilliant and embrace his new adventurous change in direction. I'd think they're horrible songs. Disco sucked then and it still sucks now.
Well, we definitely have to agree to disagree on that. Labelling everything from Nine Inch Nails to Pet Shop Boys, from Prince to Kanye West (pre-2016), Aphex Twin to Orbital, Radiohead to Kraftwerk as a lower form of music is just absurd. How does the fact that the band is using "real" instruments on songs like You're the One For Me, Fatty make them superior? It's definitely not the lyrics on that one.

As for Morrissey "secretly enjoying" synthpop, let's remember that the first entry in Mozipedia is for a-ha, who Morrissey used to like in the late eighties. Also Sparks have been pure electropop in many stages in their career. Perhaps Morrissey is just more open-minded in his taste and able to recognize great pop music even when it does not stick to the guitar pop/rock formula?
 

Aubrey McFate

Burn down the disco
A bit ballsy/extreme to mention Michael and Prince in the same breath as FGtH and the f***ing Thompson Twins.

Well, it was just a compendium of various 80s artists whom Morrissey had slagged off in the 80s. I think he was ballsy in slagging them off (Michael Jackson and Prince are obscenely overrated), but he did not do it all in the same breath.
 

Aubrey McFate

Burn down the disco
Well, we definitely have to agree to disagree on that. Labelling everything from Nine Inch Nails to Pet Shop Boys, from Prince to Kanye West (pre-2016), Aphex Twin to Orbital, Radiohead to Kraftwerk as a lower form of music is just absurd. How does the fact that the band is using "real" instruments on songs like You're the One For Me, Fatty make them superior? It's definitely not the lyrics on that one.

As for Morrissey "secretly enjoying" synthpop, let's remember that the first entry in Mozipedia is for a-ha, who Morrissey used to like in the late eighties. Also Sparks have been pure electropop in many stages in their career. Perhaps Morrissey is just more open-minded in his taste and able to recognize great pop music even when it does not stick to the guitar pop/rock formula?

I don't hate synthesizers in toto. I like the classic Moog sound on certain psychedelic records and Stanley Kubrick soundtracks, and I even think the gloomy sound of the synthesizers in what is now called the "darkwave" subgenre of 80s synth is decent. By "disco," I was referring to the kind of dance and electronica common to Top 40 music. Bright, tinkling, boppity stuff, glimmery and shimmering. That's what Morrissey's recent forays into it sound it like. I mean, Knockabout World sounds more like Frankie Goes to Hollywood than Sisters of Mercy.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Well, it was just a compendium of various 80s artists whom Morrissey had slagged off in the 80s. I think he was ballsy in slagging them off (Michael Jackson and Prince are obscenely overrated), but he did not do it all in the same breath.
I don’t think he has mentioned Michael even once. He has mentioned Janet and also said something along the lines of “various other Jackson family members”.
I do agree that Prince is overrated. There has always been a rivalry between him and Mike, and ever since he (P) died and Mike was once again dragged through the mud (this time under the ugly guise of MeToo), he really has been obscenely overrated. Especially among white alternative rock fans who are desperate to appear cool and in touch with black music, while at the same time virtue-signaling and appearing PC by choosing Prince instead of Mike.
Of course he was talented, but at the same time he was limited. He didn’t have that much to say, lyrically, and even though he was a proficient musician, he really doesn’t have that many enduring compositions to his name. Luckily for him, he often hid behind masturbatory funk, especially in his later years.

Michael on the other hand deserves all the praise he has ever gotten. A formidable talent, who could just as easily write sweaty funk as he could sultry r’n’b, goosebumps-inducing soul or exhilarating pop songs sticky as gum. Not to mention he was the best dancer since Astaire and a singer with a powerful, multifaceted voice everyone could recognize at any given moment.
 
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Ketamine Sun

Now, today, tomorrow and always
I don’t think he has mentioned Michael even once. He has mentioned Janet and also said something along the lines of “various other Jackson family members”.
I do agree that Prince is overrated. There has always been a rivalry between him and Mike, and ever since he (P) died and Mike was once again dragged through the mud (this time under the ugly guise of MeToo), he really has been obscenely overrated. Especially among white alternative rock fans who are desperate to appear cool and in touch with black music, while at the same time virtue-signaling and appearing PC by choosing Prince instead of Mike.
Of course he was talented, but at the same time he was limited. He didn’t have that much to say, lyrically, and even though he was a proficient musician, he really doesn’t have that many enduring compositions to his name. Luckily for him, he often hid behind masturbatory funk, especially in his later years.

Michael on the other hand deserves all the praise he has ever gotten. A formidable talent, who could just as easily write sweaty funk as he could sultry r’n’b, goosebumps-inducing soul or exhilarating pop songs sticky as gum. Not to mention he was the best dancer since Astaire and a singer with a powerful, multifaceted voice everyone could recognize at any given moment.

they’re different from each other. Not to say that it can’t be done, but comparing their art is a bit silly.

Especially among white alternative rock fans who are desperate to appear cool and in touch with black music’

And Prince leaned to more of a rock vibe, so it’s not surprising with the fan cross over, that Michael didn’t receive.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
they’re different from each other. Not to say that it can’t be done, but comparing their art is a bit silly.

Especially among white alternative rock fans who are desperate to appear cool and in touch with black music’

And Prince leaned to more of a rock vibe, so it’s not surprising with the fan cross over, that Michael didn’t receive.
That said, Michael collaborated with Eddie Van Halen, Steve Stevens, Slash, McCartney, Mick Jagger, to name a few. And in the nineties, he was quite influenced by industrial music (as per the sounds on albums Dangerous, History and to some extent Blood on the Dancefloor). He was also the first black artist to get regular rotation on MTV, then primarily a rock channel. And quite a few of the near billion people or whatever the number is that have bought his records must be rock fans. But I get what you mean, though.
 
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