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The Messenger

66 customer reviews

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The Messenger


Having initially found fame as guitarist and ‘curator’ of all things music with The Smiths, the ever pragmatic and effortlessly cool Johnny Marr did not take long to find his feet post Smithsdom. Having kick-started a (Britpop) generation of guitarists with his rickenbacker-esque fretwork in The Smiths, Johnny went on to find fame in super-group Electronic before eventually joining ... Read more in Amazon's Johnny Marr Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Feb. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros
  • ASIN: B00AG22JHY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,766 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. The Right Thing Right 3:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. I Want The Heartbeat 2:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. European Me 3:56£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Upstarts 3:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Lockdown 3:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. The Messenger 4:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Generate! Generate! 4:21£0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Say Demesne 5:37£0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Sun & Moon 3:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
10. The Crack Up 3:52£0.99  Buy MP3 
11. New Town Velocity 5:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Word Starts Attack 3:29£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Having returned to the UK from America specifically to write it, Johnny Marr has followed stints in both The Cribs and Modest Mouse with his solo record The Messenger. Recorded in both the UK and Berlin and mastered at the world famous Abbey Road studios in London, the record features The Smiths' iconic guitar-slinger Johnny on both guitar and vocal duties (amongst other things) and presents fans with his most accomplished works to date outside of band life.

BBC Review

Mutually admired by fellow guitarists and critics alike, Johnny Marr hasn’t rushed his first solo album since The Smiths’ demise – a split from which some fans are still recovering, unlike Marr himself, who has barely looked back.

From successfully varied collaborations with Electronic, Modest Mouse and The Cribs, Marr has also (amongst others) provided valuable contributions to Pet Shop Boys, Pretenders and The The.

He also fronted 2003’s Healers album, effectively a solo effort and a set of fairly underwhelming plod-rock. Fans will be hoping that The Messenger marks a return to his rare musical open-mindedness, not to mention way with a tune.

The northern soul stomp and soaring slide of The Right Thing Right declares that he is no longer ignoring his past. It pounds like Doves, albeit with Marr’s unmistakable guitar jangle. His vocals initially recall Liam Gallagher before giving way to shouting.

It’s quickly evident that Marr’s vocal compares poorly to the eloquence of his guitar work. Yet not everything works in that department, either. I Want the Heartbeat layers on decorative chops to disguise a pedestrian tune, badly.

The lighter touch of European Me recalls Electronic, but this invigoration is short-lived. The title track adopts a typically catchy Manchester swagger, but Generate! Generate! sounds entirely forced.

With expectations high indeed, it’s perhaps unfair to underline The Messenger’s shortcomings – and it’s worth noting that if the next Beady Eye album was to sound like this, it’d be celebrated as a considerable progression.

But muddy production does these tracks few favours. More upbeat numbers prevail, new-wave energy crackling; but lyrically Marr misfires often. One wonders how The Messenger could have been improved with a foil for Marr on board – a producer other than himself, perhaps.

Bonhomie emerges eventually. The Crack Up will prompt smiles, and the melody of New Town Velocity shimmers. Marr’s guitar work can be fascinating – but it’s forever shadowed by less-appealing vocal work.

In a year where the music industry is declaring guitar music a far-from-spent force, it’s a shame that one of the instrument’s leading lights lacks the shine on his own solo album that he’s successfully brought to other bands’ records.

--Tom Hocknell

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S.E. Haughton on 28 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD
Having been part of Manchester's finest song writing duo, Johnny Marr's legacy is fitting, as is his recent NME Godlike Genius award. Having released `Boomslang' in 2003 under the banner of Johnny Marr and the Healers, The Messenger is seemingly his first actual solo album and in times where we are desperate for good guitar music, Johnny's done well.
The album opens up with `The Right Thing Right', which instantly gives the record an upbeat opener, and yes the man can sing. However, that "wooo!" could've had a little more velocity, Johnny...

Next is "I Want The Heartbeat" and the regular English Indie side starts to show slightly before a repeat chorus of the title. Then comes "European Me", with almost a Smiths-esque guitar intro, though the vocals don't immediately continue the immediate promise, but a pleasant chorus makes for enjoyable listening and the following verse continues that trend giving the song a boost.

The 2nd single from the album is up next with "Upstarts", and again it makes for enjoyable listening. It also makes sense that this was the follow-up single to `The Messenger', which follows the next track, `Lockdown', which itself highlights Johnny's vocal and abilities and of course his renowned guitar prowess. The title track however is the best song on the album and it is clear why this was the lead single from the record. Somewhat ignorantly of me, I was unaware that Johnny could sing prior to hearing this song a couple of months or so before the release of the album, having not been aware of The Healers or his live performances. The lyrics are limited here but this song didn't need an essay as the lyrics suffice perfectly with Johnny's vocals and harmonies as well as the instrumental element of the song.

Then we have `Generate! Generate!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RICHARD G BARNISH on 26 Mar. 2013
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Godlike Genius Johnny Marr returns from a 10 year solo absence & lives up to his title with "The Messenger" which delivers in all aspects. The classic Marr guitar riffs, catchy melodies all encompassed by that retro indie/ modern sound ticks every box.

Personal favourite is "New Town Velocity" reminds me of New Order and similar bands of that era which is rare in today’s music. I can thoroughly recommend this album to all those who love Marr's previous work and can guarantee you won't be disappointed!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Graham on 2 April 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan, and I really want to love this collection of songs, but in the end I think Johnny Marr needs an ace collaborator to deliver his best. There are some good tunes on this album, and if you like anything Johnny Marr ever did, you'll get your money's worth, but it just isn't on fire, and by the time I knew my way round, it had started to irritate me a bit. But I'll look forward to the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Shillam on 7 July 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sounds all right but Johnny still can't touch The Smiths, talk about millstones, albatrosses, etc. Electronic were all right, I've never really heard the Healers or any of the other bands he played in, apart from The The and B. Bragg, both of which were great by anyone else's standards, but not Smith's great. It must have been the chemistry cos Morrissey's never been close either. A Beatles type thing. Plus which his lyrics are mighty odd, either v. obscure or pure nonsense. Solo wise I think his Todd Margaret stuff is his best, and he never should've lent N. Gallagher a guitar.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Cronshaw on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD
When The Smiths split in 1987, front-man Morrissey released his first solo album Viva Hate within six months - it has taken guitarist Johnny Marr over two and a half decades to release his effort, The Messenger.

Granted, he meandered around the indie scene, dipping into projects that interested him, including Electronic, Modest Mouse, and, most recently, The Cribs, but the prospect of a solo album from the man himself is something that many fans of The Smiths have been anticipating for a long time.

The Messenger bursts opens with the indie stomper `The Right Thing Right'. The first thing that strikes you about this song is its vitality - this doesn't sound like the afterthought of a veteran musician looking to cash in on his legacy, but rather feels like something quite fresh and exciting.

I Want the Heartbeat' is dark and urgent, with off-key guitar riffs that seem to swirl with twitchy paranoia around the edges of the mix colliding with an intense driving bass-line that could have been lifted from one of the Libertines' more punky numbers. The mood is lightened by `European Me', a track held together by an infectious pop vocal melody that could easily find itself on a New Order record - this isn't a criticism, Marr's delivery is excellent.

`Upstarts' is rather dull and marks a low point on the album with its verse that seems to plod along aimlessly and a chorus that echoes that disco-tinged indie that was all the rage in 2005. Things improve slightly with `Lockdown', but again the music is incredibly generic and doesn't do anything to showcase Marr's talent as either a guitarist or songwriter.

The title track The Messenger has been a mainstay on BBC 6 Music's playlist since the end of last year and is an excellent song.
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