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Johnny Marr – Playland| Album Review

Johnny Marr returns with Playland, but does will it be the difficult second album for the former Smith?

Source: Album Artwork

There are many critics who would instantly give any Johnny Marr  project a four star review before listening to the album. Why? He is simply a living legend and one of the reasons why the indie genre has gone from strength to strength.But does this mean make him untouchable ?

Marr’s second solo record Playland (the third if counting the instantly forgotten Healers album) is not as good as any of his work with Morrissey. That’s fine. He has some outstanding moments with Electronic, Modest Mouse and a few good songs with The Cribs. He is a talent that still creates interesting material and a jolly good guitar-smith. He has somehow managed to find his voice and its rather bewildering why it took him so long. Playland has some gigantic pop moments on it that are pleasantly shocking. The current single ‘Easy Money‘ could have appeared on an early Girls Aloud album – and that’s a compliment. It is refreshing that a man who exudes so much bravado isn’t scared of the pop world and this is a very commercial record.  Marr has always had an ear for a hook and the reason why The Smiths were such a majestic act is down to his melody lines juxtaposed with the ironic misery of Morrissey lyrics. Unlike last year’s The Messenger, which had a more aggressive post-punk attitude, Playland is a smoother sounding record and a very fluid listen. The album is not perfect though . Apart from the electronic middle section of the album and a few more spikier cuts like Little King‘  and ‘Back In The Box‘ the record seems to run out of ideas. The remainder of the album sounds like it should be brilliant, however it lacks that certain magic.

 How good would the album have sounded with some outside help?How good could it have been, if a certain ex-collaborator Bernard Sumner had been co-writing it ? Then it may have had that extra electric energy the album needed. Playland is proof that Johnny Marr is mortal. It has touches of his brilliance, without ever being glorious

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