12 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

One of the most distinctive guitarists of the '80s, Johnny Marr provided the perfect counterpoint to Morrissey's lyrical skirmishes in The Smiths. Afterward, Marr spent decades starting projects and getting involved in others, enjoying himself every step of the way. In 2013, he put out the first album credited entirely to himself alone. For someone who'd shied from the spotlight for so long, he sounds completely at ease leading himself through immediate rockers like "The Right Thing Right," "I Want the Heartbeat," and "Lockdown," where his songwriting makes up for whatever shortcomings his surprisingly decent voice brings to the material. You get the feeling that this album could've come together just as The Smiths expired. It plays like an album designed for college radio and alternative rock stations circa 1988, and—no surprise—it's heavy on weaving electric guitars. The lush atmospherics of "European Me" recall what could have been track from that fifth Smiths album, which never came. "Upstarts" chimes like the perfect three-and-a-half-minute single. Who needs Morrissey after all?

EDITORS’ NOTES

One of the most distinctive guitarists of the '80s, Johnny Marr provided the perfect counterpoint to Morrissey's lyrical skirmishes in The Smiths. Afterward, Marr spent decades starting projects and getting involved in others, enjoying himself every step of the way. In 2013, he put out the first album credited entirely to himself alone. For someone who'd shied from the spotlight for so long, he sounds completely at ease leading himself through immediate rockers like "The Right Thing Right," "I Want the Heartbeat," and "Lockdown," where his songwriting makes up for whatever shortcomings his surprisingly decent voice brings to the material. You get the feeling that this album could've come together just as The Smiths expired. It plays like an album designed for college radio and alternative rock stations circa 1988, and—no surprise—it's heavy on weaving electric guitars. The lush atmospherics of "European Me" recall what could have been track from that fifth Smiths album, which never came. "Upstarts" chimes like the perfect three-and-a-half-minute single. Who needs Morrissey after all?

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