performs at Hollywood High School on March 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
In true Morrissey fashion, the lead-up to his eleventh solo LP Low In High School has been headline-generating, from his BBC 6 Live performance where he decried a “rigged” UKIP election and threw his support behind an anti-Islam politician, to rumors of HMV refusing to stock the upcoming album over its cover art. Though live performances and music videos have helped fans glean what the full work will sound like, only a single Rolling Stone interview has provided die-hards with the story behind the album and hints towards what’s coming.
Low In High School drops November 17. Here’s what we know so far about the album.
The album art reignited the HMV vs. Morrissey beef.
Morrissey’s childhood friend James Baker claimed on Facebook that U.K. music retailer HMV wouldn’t sell the album because of its anti-monarchy message. “I publish this in support of a friend, and in the cause of democracy,” he wrote. “Trade and Retail* have informed BMG that they will refuse to handle Morrissey’s new album, ‘Low in High School’ on the grounds that the sleeve art is ‘offensive’.” He then specifically named HMV as the hold out.
HMV then categorically denied this claim, which had spread quickly throughout the Morrissey fan community. “For the second time this year it appears Morrissey’s camp have made a statement about HMV without being fully aware of the facts,” HMV stated on Twitter, referring to Morrissey’s claim that HMV “froze” sales of the Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead” vinyl reissues.
Morrissey has created a new label for the release of Low in High School
Morrissey will release Low through Etienne Records, a new business venture created for the album. Etienne is the French form of Morrissey’s first name, Steven. The label will distribute records in a partnership deal with BMG.
Morrissey is concerned about the youth.
The 58-year-old’s upcoming album title references “anyone feeling academically or spiritually low in high school… directionless or hopeless,” he explains. “Can young people ever be carefree again?” The child on the album cover is reportedly the son of Morrissey’s touring bassist Mando Lopez.
Low In High School is more honest than his 2014 LP World Peace Is None of Your Business.
Though World Peace producer Joe Chiccarelli makes a return, Morrissey promises Low is a departure from the sound of his 2014 release. Sonically speaking, Morrissey claims Low is “certainly louder” than his last album. Thematically? It’s “[s]omething closer to the truth,” with “a rage in the blood” throughout the tracks.
The track listing promises everything from the mundane (“Spent the Day In Bed”) to the political (“Who Will Protect Us From the Police?”)
The new album, in typical Moz fashion, will deal with political issues that plague the U.S. and the countries abroad. In an interview with Billboard, Morrissey clarified his thoughts on what he sees as an international crisis of police brutality: “In the United States the Death Penalty is administered by armed police officers who will kill you if the whim strikes,” the singer said. “The officers should be held to account by the people, not by their superior officers – who will always protect them. We see shocking footage of police in Spain, Venezuela, Germany assaulting anyone who is anti-government.”
Morrissey also has a personal connection to the ongoing struggle against violent policing tactics. Earlier this year, Morrissey’s nephew accused an Italian police officer of terrorizing the two of them after they were questioned as part of an anti-terrorism patrol.
The perpetually sociopolitical Morrissey seems to have Israel on his mind, too; the 12-track album references Israel twice.
1. “My Love I’d Do Anything for You”
2. “I Wish You Lonely”
3. “Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on The Stage”
4. “Home Is A Question Mark”
5. “Spent the Day In Bed”
6. “I Bury The Living”
7. “In Your Lap”
8. “The Girl from Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel”
9. “All the Young People Must Fall In Love”
10. “When You Open Your Legs”
11. “Who Will Protect Us From the Police?”
We’ve already heard a fair deal of the album.
Morrissey released a music video for “Spent the Day In Bed” featuring infamous UK footballer Joey Barton wheeling Morrissey around, and a lyric video for the embittered “I Wish You Lonely.” He also performed a number of Low tracks during a BBC 6 Radio set back in early October, including the PG-rated “When You Open Your Legs.”