‘Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine…’
Tomorrow morning Johnny Marr’s long anticipated solo album, ‘The Messenger’, will land. Halle-bloody-lujah for that. Like Jack White’s solo release last year, the anticipation and hype surrounding the album has been huge. Not that there has been any real lack of Marr material since the break-up of that band. Whether adding some of his magic to various outfits such as Modest Mouse or Billy Bragg (credited as Duane Tremolo), lending a hand to soundtracks or fronting The Healers, Marr’s output over his career has been so prolific and varied that he puts much younger and more popular musicians to shame.
I’m a sucker for ‘Side One, Track One’ moments which set the tone for the album, and as the first track on Marr’s debut solo album, ‘The Right Thing Right’ is definitely a statement of intent. Marr’s in-yer-face guitar and the anthemic call-and-repeat chorus self-referentially gestures towards Britpop, a genre which he had a massive influence on. Meanwhile, there is the unmistakable beat and groove of Motown records that acted as the bonding impetus for the Marr/Morrisey songwriting partnership in the first place. Marr’s vocals, and the track in general, drips with Northern-English attitude and reinstates Marr’s reputation for soundtracking the North. Moving away from the Alt. Rock riffage, other tracks on The Messenger will apparently feature more of Marr’s psychedelic influences which I am definitely looking forward to. Even as recently as ‘The Last Ride‘, Marr’s flair for trippy guitar histrionics remains as exciting as ‘How Soon Is Now’ or ‘The Queen Is Dead’.
Like The Smiths’s music, you’ll either love it or hate it (Oh, the obvious Marr-mite pun!). However, if ‘The Right Thing Right’ is any indication, Marr’s decision to make his solo debut thirty years into his musical career is motivated out of inspiration rather than pandering to demand and The Messenger is set to be a barnstormer.
The Messenger will be released tomorrow and Johnny Marr will embark on a UK tour in March 2013.