Bigmouth Strikes Again: Morrissey’s “Low in High School”

Bigmouth Strikes Again: Morrissey’s “Low in High School”

Morrissey is back with more controversy, solitude and general disdain for the world around him. Low in High School contains not only chaotic songs of protest, but also projects the presence of observant and emotional pleas. Let me take you through my favourites from the album.

Morrissey in 2011.
Morrissey performing at the Hop Farm Music Festival in July 2011. Credit: Man Alive! (Flikr)
Morrissey disdains the world and has an overriding urge to cut off from the world he grows increasingly angry about.

We all go our own ways separately in the same direction. And here am I every night of my life always missing someone.” – My Love, I’d Do Anything for You.

Low in High School is packed with the overriding sense of discontent with the world and one’s longing to escape, either to the arms (or legs?) of another or to sheer solitude. “My Love, I’d Do Anything for You” loudly proclaims this sense of alienation. It is a truly ‘me & you against the world’ kind of song, a sentiment found in a lot of the legendary music of The Smiths. The brass sounds in this song are also stellar.

“Think of yourself only / Of everything you demand / You want and you need
And to hell / To hell with everybody else, everybody else”
– I wish you lonely.

“I Wish You Lonely” is a song that not only sings of solitude and disconnect, but advocates it just as much as “I Spent the Day in Bed” does. Here, Morrissey is voicing his thoughts on how (many of us feel!!!) we would all be better off if we only looked after ourselves and shut away from a world gone mad. Here, his rebellious core has its say and leaves you in no doubt what his intentions are. He gives the ‘organised’ world and authority a besieged but very proud middle finger. Apart from being a statement against the manipulation of popular media, “I Spent the Day in Bed” is truly one of the stand out tracks of the album. It fires a broadside against the mundane and voices scathing discontent for a world lacking of balance. Wonderful synths provide a backdrop to his ode to ‘stepping back’ and it works beautifully!

According to Morrissey, the world is dark. Even those in the spotlight are sad.

She is determined to prove how she can fill up the page of every lost and lonely day.” – Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on the Stage

“Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on the Stage” tells the tale of a troubled girl under the spotlight. It is driven by its dark synthesiser tones aiding it’s gradual descent into absolute chaos. Brilliant!!!

Morrissey at The South by Southwest Festival in 2006.
Morrissey does not have a home and will remain restless until he finds it.

I’ve seen many shores. I hug the land, but nothing more. Because I haven’t met you” – Home Is a Question Mark

“Home Is a Question Mark” is my favourite song from the entire album. It is not only beautiful, but also most reminiscent of Morrissey’s past esteemed work. Much like in “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” by The Smiths, Morrissey is a man with no home. This tender song is also a reflection on the meaning of home and what it feels like to be well and truly lost. Essentially, it is a romantic ballad about one man’s journey to find his home, and the gradual realisation that he may never will. The lyrics are sometimes perplexing and daring too, much like one’s attempts to answer life’s biggest questions. Still, at least this song won’t leave you with a headache!

“If I ever get there, would you meet me. Wrap your legs around my face just to greet me. If I ever get there, do you really think I will?” – Home Is a Question Mark

Check out the song below:

A Morrissey controversy?

A lot of the album is controversial, explicit, noisy and disobedient. However, I hope you find a couple of songs you like. As more time passes, fans make more of an effort to separate the man from the music. It seems like Morrissey has become more of an explosive and controversial enigma these days, and a lot of his music sustains that reputation too. But with strict regard to his music, wasn’t that always part of his ambivalent appeal in the first place?

From Sophia with Love x

P.S. “I Spent the Day in Bed” appeared on an earlier “Music of my Week” post. To read the earlier entry, click here. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share one of the most entertaining interviews of The Smiths, on kids TV from 1984. Check it out below and see Morrissey being a charming man (no pun intended).


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