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Playland

October 6, 2014 | Format: MP3

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By S. Kelly on November 1, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First of all, I am a huge, really, massive fan of the Smiths. I've followed Marr with most of his work afterwards with some exceptions (not a fan of the Cribs or Modest Mouse). Electronic was very good, as well as his work with The The. I always wished he would go out on his own which he did 10 years ago with The Healers. Then he went sort of quite with the solo work until 'The Messenger' was released almost 2 years ago. I was instantly hooked and was pretty blown away by his song writing ability and his vocals as well. I could not get enough of this album and thought it would be at least a 3 year wait for a new one. Well, he made his fans wait much shorter this time by releasing 'Playland' about 18 months after The Messenger.

Playland shows us again how Johnny Marr is one of the greatest guitar players out there. And now he is showing us what a great song writer he is. 'Easy Money', track 2, was an instant favorite. Then as I got deeper into Playland, 'Dynamo', 'Candidate', & 'The Trap' were instant favorites. The other songs are growing on me as well and this is a strong album from beginning to end.

I am very happy Marr finally gone full blown into a solo career. I only wish he was doing this years ago. Maybe he was not personally ready yet and his song writing and vocals would of not been what they are today. I only hope there is more to come and he will be just a prolific as he has been the past 2 years.

Long live Johnny F***ing Marr !
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While "Playland" is a definite improvement over "The Messenger", Marr still seems incomplete as a pop act. Maybe that's simply what happens when you are competing against one of the most distinctive guitar/production styles in rock history; it's probably more difficult when you are the one who created said style. I guess what I'm saying is I keep buying Marr's solo albums waiting for that same zingy thrill that ran up my spine when a new Smiths single dropped. So far he hasn't delivered that and maybe he never will, but he does make well-constructed, intelligent music that is engaging and enjoyable.
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Format: Audio CD
Johnny Marr's 2013 solo debut "The Messenger" came some 25 years after the split of The Smiths. Not that he hasn't been busy since then, with stints with Electronic, Modest Mouse to The Cribs, but he appeared reluctant to go solo. His sophomore effort "Playland" has him making up for lost time coming barely a year after his debut and is similarly filled with shimmying guitars and gorgeous melodies.

Lacking the vocal and lyrical charisma of his fellow Smiths alumnus Morrissey, he more than makes up for this with his guitar dexterity. "Back In The Box" and the similar title track are driving rockers with frenzied drumming, while "Easy Money" has a dancey groove, razor-sharp synths and lyrics decrying greed. He does overuse the word "money" but the song is so catchy he's forgiven.

"Candidate" is a gorgeous ballad with chiming guitars, "25 Hours" bops around on a skittery beat, the gentle "The Trap" is sunny and catchy recalling The Cribs, while the atmospheric "This Tension" finds him declaring himself "a conceptual son with an intellectual gun protector".

This is a natural progression from his debut, with nods here and there to The Smiths. Here's hoping Marr remains this prolific and creative.
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I was taken by surprise from Johnny Marr's "The Messenger". I was skeptical about that album, because I knew I was just trying to find the second incarnation of The Smiths. Well, merits of "The Messenger" aside, it didn't seem long before "Playland" was announced.

This album is about as far from "The Messenger" as "The Messenger" is from "Strangeways Here We Come". While his debut album provided some great and recognizable "jangly Johnny Marr" guitar work, Mr. Marr's sophomore effort incorporates some great support synth and effects. I dare you to listen to "Easy Money" three times and not hum it in your head for the next few days. This song would totally fit in a 1989 dance club "Alternative Night", but in a good way!

And while like a lot of people I know who said, "I didn't know Johnny could sing so well", you're going to be even more impressed with this effort. Sometimes when he's singing it almost sounds like he is channeling Bernard Sumner... but maybe that's just a leftover impression from their collaboration as Electronic.

This album continues right where "The Messenger" left off, and it's a wonderful album. Not a single song is a dud, and they all stand on their own merits. As a whole, they are far greater than the sum of their parts.
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By Bob on November 27, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Literally, this should have been entitled, The Messenger, Part II. For any fan of Mr. Marr's music, this is a must. In fact, this release is a better introduction to his guitar prowess and songwriting skills.
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Format: Audio CD
2nd solo album from former Smiths guitarist, who’s also been a member of Electronic,The Cribs, The The & Modest Mouse—classy British indie pop/rock driven by Marr’s distinctly intricate, treble-bright lead notes and potent vocals. Many of the songs have a soaring, grandiose-light post-Smiths pop flow, but you’ll also hear a bit of dark, near-punk energy & a ska-infected keyboard romp—plus some semi-orchestrated ballad pop and some throbbing New Order-ish rhythms. Overall, “Playland” feels a bit less immediate and more predictably accessible than 2013’s “The Messenger”, but it’s still a strong listen with a couple of real stand-out moments that are quickly embedding themselves in my “need-to-hear-again” list.
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