Review: Morrissey, Alt-Rock's Greatest Stand-Up, Still Has It on Album Number 11

Our take on on the veteran songwriter's 'Low in High School'

Morrissey's 11th album is titled 'Low in High School.'

Quiz: Morrissey's endless, withering disdain for cultural hypocrisy might get wearisome if not for A) his equally-relentless tenderness, B) his Wildean wit, C) the truth of his observations. Yes, it's D) all of the above.

"Society's hell," he reminds us near the start of his latest offering, "you need me just like I need you." We do, and timing couldn't be better. "Stop watching the news!" he says. "Teach your kids to recognize and despise all the propaganda/Filtered down by the dead echelon's mainstream media." Punchlines fly: Lines like "I've dined with every bogus music mogul" ("Home Is a Question Mark") and "I'm not my type, but I love my bed" ("Spent the Day in Bed") are dusted with existential malaise.

"I Bury the Living," a ruthless conjuring of a soldier in first person, is an unfair stereotype, true, but also empathetic, class-conscious and even funny, albeit painfully. He draws a scene set against Arab Spring that echoes all of humanity's sad history: "They tried to wipe us clean off the map/And I just want my face in your lap." The backup ain't the Smiths, but its solid and campy, adding its own wit.

As philosophical alt-rock standup goes, the man is still peerless.