This Week’s Music Video with Paul McCartney, Perfume Genius, Charlie XCX, Johnny Marr, Jessie Ware, Blonde Redhead & Wu-Tang Clan

Johnny Marr – Playland Review

Johnny Marr has released his second debut album in as many years this week, yet on the other hand Morrissey has been squabbling with his record label over being dropped or not. It’s a vast difference between the two song writing partners.  Last year’s The Messenger was certainly a solid debut for Marr and he left a lot of scope for this year’s Playland from the reflective and calm debut album. Initial singles such as ‘Easy Money’ suggest a more lively pop-tinged affair, or at least a different tone for the album with potential for variety. You know the lyrics will be up to a fairly decent standard too, but will it be an improvement?
With ‘Easy Money’ you immediately grasp the greater sense of emphasis on hooks, rhythmic feel and lyrical flair as opposed to the reflective and contemplative nature of last year’s album. The trademark Marr-guitar is backed up with the sharp beat of the percussion, the grinding distortion of the rhythm, with the lead trickling from it. Along with the heavy electronica, it is an track of combination. Connecting the British Indie sound he helped forge with hints of euro-rock and pop, which is filled together nicely by Marr’s slightly echoed back vocals that sweep across the instrumentals. ‘Dynamo’ is a pretty standard piece of alternative rock with the siren-like, distorted rhythms and the broken down reverb and a light film of electronica over the top of it. Marr’s softer vocals hold their own against the instrumentals which only pause from their churning continuity for a highly charged, ringing lead riff.
‘The Trap’ rings and chimes out from it’s simple and lightly rotating rhythm riff. The subtlety of the instrumentals are met with Marr’s most comfortable vocal that sweeps up against the softer riffs and buzzing synths. A song that’s easy on the ear. The title track rumbles on with a gruff and echoed vocal from Marr which is joined with heavy rhythms which rattle and churn away with wiry lead guitars set over the top. ‘Little king’ opens with a wailing riff, that sings out the intro, preceding the oscillating bass lines and rhythms and in a typical purposeful indie fashion; the track churns out it’s guitar ensemble with Marr’s slightly distorted vocal pulling in the guitars slightly. Tracks like ‘Candidate’ operate in a different fashion with the loose riffs coupling with the spaced out, sweeping synths and a stomp like beat. This puts a large focus on his vocals and it naturally isolates them from the rest of the track. It also gives scope for building up and constructing the sound which he does well and in a refrained fashion on the chorus as the song gently bursts into light.
Playland doesn’t deviate too much from his debut solo effort, but it does enough to keep your attention. There are a few novel moments that intercept the familiar, yet very well delivered standardised tracks.
Johnny Marr- Playland = 6.5/10