High Civilization is the Bee Gees' nineteenth original album (seventeenth worldwide), released in 1991. It was their last album recorded for Warner Bros. Records, after a four-year contract (they would return to WB through subsidiary Reprise Records in 2006, after gaining the rights to their previously released material, they reissued each album through Reprise). Possibly in reaction to firm resistance from US radio to the previous two albums, E.S.P. (1987) and One (1989), which had done well in other countries, the US-based Warner Bros gave this one less promotion and did not issue remixes. They recorded this album and their next album Size Isn't Everything with engineer Femi Jiya.
In the US, the album was available only on the CD and cassette, but the LP version was released in limited quantities in some countries. While it did not chart in the US, it reached No. 6 in Switzerland, No. 2 in Germany (reaching platinum certification in both countries), No. 24 in the UK and sold 1.1 million copies worldwide.
The songs as sequenced on the "High Civilization mixes" tell a story of "secret love" that might be all in the singer's head and secret from the girl too. He hesitates one moment and speaks explicitly the next, but is he telling her what the feels. The contradictions give the story a dreamlike effect of details shifting while the singer's feelings remain consistent. The only song that does not fit is the dystopian political title song, unless it expresses the singer's anger and confusion with the world as he feels things are all falling apart. He then casts it all as a romantic tragedy, before finally proposing that maybe even the girl being in love with someone else does not mean the end of it.
High Civilization found a new change for the Bee Gees sound, with heavier use of drum programming and electronic effects, giving a more modern dance feel to the production. Highlights from the album included the first single, "Secret Love", an up-tempo ballad, which was a top five hit in the UK, "When He's Gone", a heavier pop song, issued as the album's second single, it features the Alan Kendall's guitar solo ending on that song, and the sentimental ballad "The Only Love", released as the third and final single from the album. The soft ballad "Happy Ever After" was released a cassette-only single. "True Confessions" was the bonus cut available only on the CD version, It was also issued only in the US as the B-side of "When He's Gone". The album taking 60 minutes for only eleven songs.
Both High Civilization and Size Isn't Everything were the only post-RSO era albums not to feature concert dates in the US, presumably due to health issues with Barry Gibb and lackluster record sales. The band did play three dates in the UK and toured Europe.
Despite the album's failure in the US, the brothers would work with Femi Jiya again on the follow-up, Size Isn't Everything.