Johnny Marr - Playland

by Sam Watson

Johnny Marr, best known for being the guitarist of The Smiths, is back with his second solo project, Playland. Last year’s The Messenger was the first solo album from the all-round musical legend, and his new album is a very good follow up. Marr has found his style and is sticking to it - strong guitar riffs and a heavy drum track topped up with his unique lyrics.

The intricacy of the guitar sounds throughout the album is unbelievable. Many claim that Johnny Marr is the best guitarist ever and Playland completely backs this up. The range of sounds that Marr can get out of one instrument is unmatched. Noel Gallagher has called Johnny Marr a “wizard of the guitar” (and for Noel to compliment someone other than himself, they must be doing something right).

Marr has worked with more big names in music than I can even remember. Notably, he was the guitarist in Modest Mouse for three years, and the fourth track on the album, Candidate, is in a very similar style to their work. Titular track, Playland, pretty much captures the essence of the album in one song; a fast-paced track with a number of interesting little moments throughout. The whole album is strong in its entirety but the absolute stand out song is the first single, Easy Money. Marr has taken all the best sounds from his collaborations and put them into one song. This track has a slight pop feel compared to the rest of the album (he would take that as a criticism, but I don’t think it is). It will surely be a highlight of any live show that Marr plays in the future and I would expect it to be a big hit with his fans.

For fans of previous works by Marr, this album will only add to how much you like him. For everyone else, you should take a listen and even if you don’t like it, take a second to appreciate the musical genius of it all. This man has a way of making music, always adding a hint of something special. I don’t believe there is anyone else who will have had a bigger influence on so many great songs. From a man who was accidentally officially in the Happy Mondays for twenty minutes, comes a very good album and a showcase of the musical legend that is Johnny Marr.