Can I just say this. I don't want to exaggerate, but my initial impressions are that this may be the worst album I've heard by any music act, ever. I'm struggling to think of another album by any artist that left such a horrible aftertaste. In that sense, it's an achievement, to bring about that level of revulsion in a person. But lyrically and musically his career is dead, as is his legacy.
Even Charles Manson's pre-incarceration demos were less appalling than this album. There is no hope to the lyrics at all, and it's not that it's bleak in a way which could still have some merit, it's just turgid. It's artistically non-existent. There are more entertaining YouTube comments than this; teenage edgelords on 4chan have more insightful opinions to offer.
'Israel' is, lyrically, a career low-point, possibly the lowest. 'When You Open Your Legs' is listless, and the rest of the track listing reads like a list of the musically lifeless. 'All the Young People' is an insult. It really calls into question the whole notion of the 'career musician'. Especially those who achieved some level of financial success early on, and also the online media's continued coverage of such figures even after the quality of their recorded output has gone off the cliff edge. To be a career musician is no better than being a career politician.
Would you go and see Messi and Ronaldo play at 58 years old? Or Federer lugging himself around the tennis court while approaching 60? I don't see why this should be any different; increasingly so, with the evidence presented to us on this LP. And I'm not comparing Morrissey to Messi or Ronaldo either, he was never in that league, and after 'Low in High School' he'd be lucky to make the Accrington Stanley subs bench. He's the musical equivalent of Southampton's Ali Dia. Some public figures in certain fields of the arts and entertainment only improve with age, but Mr. Morrissey I'm sorry to say is not among them.
There are touring singer-songwriters playing in sparsely populated dive bars in Berlin tonight, and Amsterdam, barely making ends meet but with so much more to say than this malcontent sitting on his $30 million fortune and subjecting his listener base to half-arsed albums like this. Quarter-arsed. It's an embarrassment to everyone involved -- the listeners, the band, the record label, the production and mixing crews -- through no fault of their own in most cases.
But those within the inner circle who allowed this record to be made without once speaking out and questioning its direction, or its purpose for existing, are entirely complicit. They are cowards and enablers, and Korda Marshall has egg on his face. His cheeks should be burning so red that his dripping facial egg could find itself suddenly poached in seconds from the heat being emitted.
Typically I would give it a second listen to see if my opinions shift as the songs grow more familiar, but the thought of doing so with this particular album makes me feel nauseated. I'm afraid there are no words in the modern English language which could strongly enough express the utter contempt that I feel for what he has committed to record here. It is an attack, an aural and intellectual assault on the listener, nothing less.
Imagine how far-gone you'd have to be even to consider releasing something like this to the public. Edmund Kemper would have more sense than to release this album. With a severed head in one hand and LiHS in the other, he'd be more likely to bury the master tapes of LiHS in his back garden than the head, deeming this album to be the more incriminating and reputation-destroying of the two if found in his possession.
The only people who I could imagine loving this album are hardline Zionists, considering its themes, but even they'd have reasonable questions about its quality.
As fradulent as 'Punk' turned out to be in the end, at least it appeared to be successful - temporarily at least - in pushing out the hackneyed old guard and ushering in an exciting new wave who had something to convey in that moment which needed to be said and heard.
The only regrettable thing today is that there's not another wave of exasperated confrontational youths who'll come along and clear out the deadwood Morrisseys of this world who, like a bad case of the clap, just won't go away.
After his 35 year marathon career he's now hobbling toward the finish line...
While Morrissey is unlikely to trouble the charts with this clunker, the collapse of the music industry is partially responsible for his longevity. No longer can worn out old musicians just be swept aside in favour of the new, as the internet ensures their continued seat at the table. This is true even for somebody with Morrissey's 'comment history'.
Familiarity comes first for record companies as it's a safer bet for them to invest in than in the new and unusual which may not make any dent culturally and brings in poor returns.
This is where the loathsome idea of the 'career musician' rears its Moz-shaped head again.
The Morrissey who exists today would have been less likely to survive in the music business of 30 years ago if he behaved then as he does now when their monopoly was still immutable, and options were limitless, they could afford to dispense with an act like Morrissey whose harmful presence on their label would outweigh and diminish any marginal profits from average sales figures.
They could afford to cut him loose, especially if the sales were lagging far behind those of the true stars on the roster, and he was bringing more baggage and trouble than he's worth. He's signed today on name recognition alone, the artistry left the equation a long time ago.
Once upon a time he'd be locked up like the Marquis de Sade for releasing something so grotesquely inartistic for public consumption, because obviously you'd have to be completely barmy to put your name on such a thing. You don't see me putting my name to this post do you?
He would have been laughed at by children on every public square and had tomatoes chucked at him.
He'd also be lampooned in every colonial periodical informing the European diaspora of the goings-on in the Arts world. His name would be irrevocably linked with the likes of William McGonagle. His name would be a contemporaneous, and with time, historical punchline (and it is, and will be, but he would be laughed out of the public sphere entirely in his lifetime and wouldn't dare ever again show his face, not without a fake moustache and name change anyway. In modern times the name 'Morrissey' should be spoken of in the same breath as 'Tania Head'.)
Morrissey is the Andrew Dice Clay of the music world...
At least the works of the Marquis de Sade managed to achieve some sort of posthumous re-evaluation. This album isn't destined for a similarly generous fate , it will be confined to the dustbin of history forever, where it belongs. But in truth it never should have existed in the first place.
Some closing bullet-point observations.
- In 'Low in High School' Morrissey is the bully in the school bathrooms shoving your head into the toilet and stealing your lunch money (the lunch money being the price of the album, the toilet being the album itself).
- 'Low in High School' picks up where Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music' left off but somehow with fewer sentiments of real value to contribute.
- While low in Morrissey's 'high school' the unsuspecting listener is grabbed and devoured, and finds that it's blacker than ever before almost as if they're trapped in the belly of the humpback whale being chased by gunships from Bergen. While neither Morrissey nor the whale 'give in', in the whale's case it's an act of defiance, whereas in Morrissey's it's a pathetic display that he refuses to just accept that the gig is well and truly up.
- 'Low in High School' should be investigated by human rights organisations for the cruel and unusual punishment it inflicts upon its listeners.
- On the school theme: in 'Low in High School' you watch the album's minutes and seconds slowly pass by -- 25:45...25:46...25:47...25:47 (??)..25:46(!!??) -- like all those late rainy afternoons sitting in math(...maths...LOL!) class, watching the clock, with time passing so slowly that it seems to stop, or for a split second the hand you're watching appears to edge slightly backwards.
- Listening to 'Low in High School' is the musical equivalent of receiving 'lines' to write as punishment in 'high school', in this instance writing out 'this must be punishment for something I did in a past life' repeatedly for 50 minutes (the album's length).
- Waking up on Christmas morning and finding 'Low in High School' in your stocking is only a slightly better prospect than waking up on Christmas morning and finding Santa Claus dead on your living room floor.
- On 'Low in High School' the aural 'high school' in question is Columbine.
- Referring back to Charles Manson from earlier, upon arriving home after a long day at work I'd rather pull into the driveway and find 'pig' written in blood on my front door than find a package waiting for me in my mailbox with 'Low in High School' contained inside it.
- "There are no words in the modern English language...." but I gave it a shot, however I'll stop here because I don't want to start exaggerating (re: my initial impressions) about how atrocious this album is.
Regards (sorry to everyone here who waited patiently for November 17th, some of you with anticipation, and all you got for your trouble and pain was this album which gives a glimpse into the mind of somebody deranged(?))
- 'Low in High School' is aural syphilis!
P.S. While I write this I've been listening to the radio show 'Mystery Train' online which plays some great stuff. Not all is lost -- I needed to hear something like this to cleanse my soul and 'shake the disease' after my encounter with the oozing black bile of 'Low in High School'. The clouds are beginning to part again. 'Low in High School' contrives to frighten you. It wishes to pull you into its murky depths like the Creature from the Black Lagoon and be your 'friend' forever (forever). Morrissey's 'high school' is actually a cellar, and Morrissey as its principal takes off his mask to reveal a flickering Josef Fritzl-like face and a whole other cast of demonic characters on a kaleidoscopic daguerrotype underneath. He's not the man you thought he was. Avoid. Little lamb, run as fast as you can away from this terrible creation (never giving in), I beseech you, and don't look back.
TL;DR it's shite, although without 'Israel' and 'I Bury the Living' on the tracklist I might have permitted myself to go a touch easier on the old sod, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO!!
Get some rest, old son.