CURIOUS FOR MUSIC Review of Burn Down The High School

 "Features hippie soloing all throughout the track, with a sound that mixes The Grateful Dead with Jefferson Airplane

New Single 'Burn Down The High School' By Blind Uncle Harry

Aug 19 2022 Many of us have sung Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” with great gusto. We sang/shouted, “School’s out forever!’” At one point in the song, Cooper announces, “My school’s been blown to pieces.” Of course, much contemporary music – particularly country music – is filled with happy nostalgia for those high school years. Had we blown our school to pieces, we’d be singing an entirely different song now. Although it’s sung in an entirely different style – folkish rock, rather than hard rock – Blind Uncle Harry’s “Burn Down The High School” expresses similar anti-high school emotions.

However, if you read Cooper’s lyric a little more closely, the line, “School’s out for summer” precedes “School’s out forever.” Therefore, a summer away from the drudgery of daily school attendance can feel like an eternity. Blind Uncle Harry’s wish is more permanent than just a summer vacation, though. He’s singing about a school turned to ashes for good. 

The track begins with Blind Uncle Harry singing over acoustic guitar, before electric guitar and a female vocal comes in. He gets right to the point by describing how a match put to gas burns the school grounds down to its very foundations. The best part of this song is its electric guitar accompaniment. It features hippie soloing all throughout the track, with a sound that mixes The Grateful Dead with Jefferson Airplane. In place of a chorus, the recording features ‘ooh la las’ between verses, instead. 

Blind Uncle Harry doesn’t sound as much anti education as he does anti-establishment. Vocalizing with that warbly, unstable vocal tone of his, Harry sings about how society will change without the educational establishment. It’s as though he views education as a way of overly micromanaging young people, who would be much better off without the burden of formal schooling. 

One wonders if Blind Uncle Harry had a bad school experience. Was he a poor student? Did he get bullied? Was he more of a doer than a listener? Of course, this guy probably didn’t have as bad of an experience as today’s high school students. School may have been a drag and a bore for guys like Blind Uncle Harry, but he didn’t have to walk onto school grounds in near constant fear of someone opening fire on him and his fellow students with a high-powered gun. These are modern problems and offer far more valid reasons to either hate or fear school attendance. And the bullying that took place a few decades ago, has become even worse during our internet era. Plus, there’s the pressure to look as good as celebrities do on social media pages. It was tough then, but it’s even tougher now. 

Yes, we all probably imagined the joy of watching our high school burn down, at least on our worst days. However, most of us have more positive than negative memories of that time. Most are glad we never gave into the urge to get a little destructive with our high school. Then again, for those bad days, when we truly hated going to school, “Burn Down The High School” does kind of scratch an angry itch. Best to experience in song, though, rather than actually go through with it. 

-Dan MacIntosh

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