Wednesday, March 06, 2013


Song: Upstarts
Artist: Johnny Marr
Album: The Messenger

I've read many a rock historian note that at the demise of The Smiths it was the band's guitarist and co-songwriter Johnny Marr that was thought to be the one to watch, the one to really take the rock scene by storm, not Morrissey.  But Mozz garnered almost instant and continued solo success twenty plus years after The SMiths demise, while Marr has bounced from band to band with middling success, despite his hard-earned, and unquestioned "legend" status in the history of Rock and Roll.

It could be the history of his career, and the fact that it's now a whole thirty years since The Smiths were formed, that makes his debut as a solo artist on "The Messenger" so surprising.  Also the fact that it's actually rather good.

Marr's voice isn't so exceptional, and sonically maybe there isn't any new ground being mined here, but it's all done so well, the melodies solid in their crunch or dreamy quality, and you forgive his codger-take-on-technology-and-the-world, because despite the eye-roll quality of the grumpiness, there are some real truths there.  And track-for-track, it's a pleasant and varied record in the best ways.

I've been listening to the record for a couple weeks now and it's certainly quite a grower.  I'd never connected with any of Marr's post-Smiths projects, but probably suffer from the fabricated competition that was inflicted upon he and Morrissey, whom I was (and patly still am) completely infatuated with.

But I throw that all out with "The Messenger," which has made me stand up and listen... and realize that at any age, you can still make that statement, and be a messenger for the world.


The Right Thing Right

I Want the Heartbeat

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