Morrissey – Low In High School Review

Its practically impossible not to have at least heard of Morrissey at this day in age. Be it for his ingenious work in The Smiths, or in his 11 solo albums, or just being a loud and proud, outspoken guy. Which is why, for such a hyped up man, it’s a bit of shock that his most recent album Low in High School picks up on the same mediocre and frankly weird standard that World Peace is None of Your Business left us with.

We started the Low in High School Journey with Spent the Day in Bed. I remember listening to this song, after half-and-half dipping my toe into some of Morrissey’s work beforehand, and wondering what all the fuss is about. It flops over wavering keys and never changes…just kind of lingers like a bad smell. Hopes were lifted with Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on The Stage. Boosted by more exhilarating instrumentalism, his fiery political messages are strong, and clever, and provides something different and interesting as a break from the instrumental incessance the remainder of the track list revolves around.

The album starts well, with My Love, I’d Do Anything for You, featuring fierce guitars, thunderous percussion and snapshots of brass. It’s a good start that experiments with instrumentalism, and has no particular structure, keeping it a pretty captivating number. I Wish You Lonely follows a similar kind of vein, fizzing and wailing with quirk. Jacky’s Only Happy appears next, and then Morrissey finds himself in a rut of boring melancholia.

Boring melancholia, and odd notions thrown in there for…well, I’m not quite sure why. The political angst that comes out in songs like I Bury the Living – one of the more listenable angry ballads on the album – doesn’t sit well next to the suggestive nature of In Your Lap; the two tracks uncomfortably placed side-by-side on the track list. It feels like all the power behind I Bury the Living is lost amongst the creepy sexual imagery. And it’s not the only time this kind of theme pops up either – unsurprisingly, it’s a key part of When You Open Your Legs, as well as Home is A Question Mark.

The album closes with Israel. Sure, it remains to be as pedestrian as much of the rest of the album, yet it is a poignant closer. A building piano ballad to close an album of bizarre techno experimentations and lustful ideas – a stirring political tune is what is needed to round off a track list of oddities.

Morrissey – Low in High School: 5/10

Eleanor Chivers

Single Review – Morrissey – I Wish You Lonely 

‘I Wish You Loney’ latest track from Morrissey’s soon to be released album ‘Low In High-School,’ due November 17th, see’s Morrissey once again twisting his iconically styled, equal parts eloquent and scathing, lyrics around some sharp-edged rousing synths. Contemptuous lines like; ‘Think of yourself only, of everything you demand, you want and you need, and to hell with everyone else,’ seem to possess that perfect upturned nose and brutally honest air that always makes Morrissey’s writing, whether you adore it or not, unavoidably addictive.  
Hayley Miller

Single Review – Morrissey – Spent The Day In Bed

I’m sure most, if not all, of us think the idea of snuggling up under the covers all day sounds a whole lot more attractive than tackling this big bad world. This is the idea that surrounds Morrissey’s new single Spent the Day in Bed; a track with instrumentalism as relaxed and lyricism as lazy as its theme. Introduced by sprightly keys, and given some life by a lick of bass, the song starts as it means go on, only to be picked up by a catchy chorus before lapsing back into the same routine. There’s a small section where the lyrics “time, do as I wish” is repeated over and over to some subtle orchestral strings. Other than that, the whole track seems like the same material on a continual loop. It’s flat; it doesn’t really have any soul. For a song that preaches comfort, its depressing undertones and backing track that’s just a bit odd means it kind of does the opposite.
Ellie Chivers

This Week’s Music Video with Blur, Morrissey, Beck, Laura Marling, Sia, Lykke Li, Hot Chip and Best Coast

Sunday Suggestion – The Smiths – What Difference Does It Make?

Though there is such an immediate fixation and almost constant factory-line of teenage kids heading for The Smiths music, I was admittedly never one of them. I never quite understood, but always respected their status that for some makes them “the only decent band of the 80’s.” Though that is simply not true, their impact is unavoidable. With this in mind, I decided to take a look at one of their most prominent tracks in ‘What Difference Does It Make?’ from 1984. Taken from their tediously worked debut album The Smiths, the track opens with that indelible, rotating, jangling riff from Marr’s Rickenbacker that’s reminiscent of such rhythm sections as The Byrds, but with a little more drive and purpose. With this as the song’s base, the echoed percussion and additional guitar parts filter from it. These hook-laden instrumentals are swept and swooned over by Morrissey with his grey, wistful melody. The song has a kick and an appeal for participation whether it be dancing or singing along so it certainly fits into the 80’s pop requirements. But it has much more substance musically and more depth lyrically and might explain their continued success today.

Johnny Marr – Playland Review

Johnny Marr has released his second debut album in as many years this week, yet on the other hand Morrissey has been squabbling with his record label over being dropped or not. It’s a vast difference between the two song writing partners.  Last year’s The Messenger was certainly a solid debut for Marr and he left a lot of scope for this year’s Playland from the reflective and calm debut album. Initial singles such as ‘Easy Money’ suggest a more lively pop-tinged affair, or at least a different tone for the album with potential for variety. You know the lyrics will be up to a fairly decent standard too, but will it be an improvement?
With ‘Easy Money’ you immediately grasp the greater sense of emphasis on hooks, rhythmic feel and lyrical flair as opposed to the reflective and contemplative nature of last year’s album. The trademark Marr-guitar is backed up with the sharp beat of the percussion, the grinding distortion of the rhythm, with the lead trickling from it. Along with the heavy electronica, it is an track of combination. Connecting the British Indie sound he helped forge with hints of euro-rock and pop, which is filled together nicely by Marr’s slightly echoed back vocals that sweep across the instrumentals. ‘Dynamo’ is a pretty standard piece of alternative rock with the siren-like, distorted rhythms and the broken down reverb and a light film of electronica over the top of it. Marr’s softer vocals hold their own against the instrumentals which only pause from their churning continuity for a highly charged, ringing lead riff.
‘The Trap’ rings and chimes out from it’s simple and lightly rotating rhythm riff. The subtlety of the instrumentals are met with Marr’s most comfortable vocal that sweeps up against the softer riffs and buzzing synths. A song that’s easy on the ear. The title track rumbles on with a gruff and echoed vocal from Marr which is joined with heavy rhythms which rattle and churn away with wiry lead guitars set over the top. ‘Little king’ opens with a wailing riff, that sings out the intro, preceding the oscillating bass lines and rhythms and in a typical purposeful indie fashion; the track churns out it’s guitar ensemble with Marr’s slightly distorted vocal pulling in the guitars slightly. Tracks like ‘Candidate’ operate in a different fashion with the loose riffs coupling with the spaced out, sweeping synths and a stomp like beat. This puts a large focus on his vocals and it naturally isolates them from the rest of the track. It also gives scope for building up and constructing the sound which he does well and in a refrained fashion on the chorus as the song gently bursts into light.
Playland doesn’t deviate too much from his debut solo effort, but it does enough to keep your attention. There are a few novel moments that intercept the familiar, yet very well delivered standardised tracks.
Johnny Marr- Playland = 6.5/10