When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anymore

When did Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as 'It's Not Your Birthday...'


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Theo

Active Member
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

In some sense I do wish, like you, that Johnny had done more after The Smiths. If I had never read an interview with him after 1987, I might be disappointed. But I have, and I dunno. He seems pretty healthy and-- um-- well-adjusted. I think he's just making music for himself and his friends, which I find hard to knock him for.

If that's what fulfills him, then I'm glad if he's happy. There's no requirement for someone to be ambitious, though not many are blessed with his talents and it would be nice if he were more ambitious. I consider him a rare talent who should have a better post-Smiths body of work. I think he needs to find another singer/lyricist who is truly special. I kinda think he should've found a female singer to make a band with a long time ago.

Some of Marr's best post-Smiths stuff was with The The, but Matt Johnson was annoying in more than the smallest doses.
 

Theo

Active Member
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

Not for me. It's not that I didn't love that album-- it is my No. 2 behind "Viva Hate"-- it's just that, at the time, I kept comparing his musicians to The Smiths. I couldn't help it.

I should be more honest. I have thought in recent years that Moz might do well for himself to find a musician who is more of a co-equal talent. But, then again, his albums are pretty good anyway.
 

spleenhead

Yes, I am spleen
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

I think Johnny has shown more ambition than Moz, and anyone who thinks otherwise is quite blinkered. Johnny has performed and written with some of the biggest bands in the world, as well as collaborating with experimental and lesser-known acts. As for his work with The Cribs, we can't yet pass judgement on either live or recorded stuff, the former because all of the band's existing songs aren't designed with a second guitarist in mind, and we haven't heard what Johnny's written with them yet.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

If that's what fulfills him, then I'm glad if he's happy. There's no requirement for someone to be ambitious, though not many are blessed with his talents and it would be nice if he were more ambitious. I consider him a rare talent who should have a better post-Smiths body of work. I think he needs to find another singer/lyricist who is truly special. I kinda think he should've found a female singer to make a band with a long time ago.

Some of Marr's best post-Smiths stuff was with The The, but Matt Johnson was annoying in more than the smallest doses.

Ha, yeah, Matt Johnson never lasts long on my stereo before outstaying his welcome. Every six months I'll put on "Mindbomb" and think, shit, this is the greatest thing I've heard in ages, why don't I play this more often? A day later it's strictly, "Oh yeah, right".

Marr would've done nicely with a female singer, yes, maybe like Harriet of The Sundays. But I think it begs us to ask the question of how many great albums one person can be expected to make-- I ask this about Morrissey, too. You look at the lifespan of most artists and they've only got a handful of great albums and singles in them. The rest is filler.

It's like in "The Big Lebowski" when Brent is showing Jeff the awards on the wall and he notes, with pride, that Big Lebowski got a Man of the Year Award which "they don't necessarily give out every year". I'm probably wrong but I'd like to think that Johnny would rather record records he really loved and wanted to make rather than churn out new product year by year.

I think we have to think of quality, not quantity, whether it's Marr or Morrissey or anyone. Maybe we missed some fantastic collaborations with Marr and Harriet, or Marr and Brett Anderson, or Marr and Oasis, or whoever-- but then again maybe we missed out on a bunch of agonizingly mediocre records. I realize Morrissey and Marr have had their bad moments stranded in the desert since 1987 but-- compared to many other bands-- I'm pretty happy that I don't have to skip over half their discography to get to the good stuff.

I should be more honest. I have thought in recent years that Moz might do well for himself to find a musician who is more of a co-equal talent. But, then again, his albums are pretty good anyway.

As I've already waffled about before elsewhere, I think he's deliberately doing this to emphasize his singing-- which IMHO is better than ever-- and in any case, while his current sound is the opposite of innovative and fresh, it isn't the same old stuff, either. He's found a unique (and admittedly problematic) way of distancing himself from his past.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

I think Johnny has shown more ambition than Moz, and anyone who thinks otherwise is quite blinkered. Johnny has performed and written with some of the biggest bands in the world, as well as collaborating with experimental and lesser-known acts. As for his work with The Cribs, we can't yet pass judgement on either live or recorded stuff, the former because all of the band's existing songs aren't designed with a second guitarist in mind, and we haven't heard what Johnny's written with them yet.

The Smiths embodied take-over-the-world ambition from their earliest days.

When they split, Morrissey didn't have quite the same ambition on his own but he did, in essence, continue The Smiths by himself-- same style of music, same aesthetics, and most importantly the same expectations for commercial success as The Smiths. Gradually he changed and stepped out of The Smiths' shadow, but fundamentally speaking his career is fairly continuous from 1984 to 2009.

Marr chose to be a hired gun. Yes, he's done some excellent work and put himself next to some great talent. But think about what Morrissey has done and ask yourself if Marr has taken a similar philosophy. No. For Marr to have done the same he would have remained front and center as a songwriter and found a writing partner as strong as Morrissey. And he would've toured and kept releasing albums continuously and established a continuity like Morrissey's (spotty though it was at times). He didn't do any of that. I'm not disrespecting him-- I love Johnny-- but he didn't take the same path. He didn't try and translate The Smiths into his own solo terms. There never was a "Marr-solo".

To add an important point in Johnny's defense: Morrissey could easily go on being Morrissey because that's a job nobody else can do. There's only one Morrissey. Conversely, by 1987, Marr's sound was being borrowed all over the place and in a sense the newer arrangements on "Strangeways" come from Marr reacting against his own work. It would've been impossible for Marr to release albums in the late-80s and early 90s that sounded like The Smiths in any way. He didn't want to try and dominate a landscape he himself had shaped-- a commendable willingness to move on. So he did two things: one was to do a 180 by releasing dance-electronic music and the other was to continue playing guitar but in a complementary, more backgrounded role with friends. To try and re-create a variation of The Smiths would've been to start a cover band of his own material.
 
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dothewatusi

Member
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

As for his work with The Cribs, we can't yet pass judgement on either live or recorded stuff, the former because all of the band's existing songs aren't designed with a second guitarist in mind, and we haven't heard what Johnny's written with them yet.

Here's a song that Johnny and Ryan wrote together.
[youtube]7AH-QRDChQ0&feature=channel_page[/youtube]
 

spleenhead

Yes, I am spleen
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

Thanks. I did hear this when I saw them live at Leeds Festival last year. Still, can't tell too much from it. Look forward to the album though.
 

spleenhead

Yes, I am spleen
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

The Smiths embodied take-over-the-world ambition from their earliest days.

When they split, Morrissey didn't have quite the same ambition on his own but he did, in essence, continue The Smiths by himself-- same style of music, same aesthetics, and most importantly the same expectations for commercial success as The Smiths. Gradually he changed and stepped out of The Smiths' shadow, but fundamentally speaking his career is fairly continuous from 1984 to 2009.

Marr chose to be a hired gun. Yes, he's done some excellent work and put himself next to some great talent. But think about what Morrissey has done and ask yourself if Marr has taken a similar philosophy. No. For Marr to have done the same he would have remained front and center as a songwriter and found a writing partner as strong as Morrissey. And he would've toured and kept releasing albums continuously and established a continuity like Morrissey's (spotty though it was at times). He didn't do any of that. I'm not disrespecting him-- I love Johnny-- but he didn't take the same path. He didn't try and translate The Smiths into his own solo terms. There never was a "Marr-solo".

To add an important point in Johnny's defense: Morrissey could easily go on being Morrissey because that's a job nobody else can do. There's only one Morrissey. Conversely, by 1987, Marr's sound was being borrowed all over the place and in a sense the newer arrangements on "Strangeways" come from Marr reacting against his own work. It would've been impossible for Marr to release albums in the late-80s and early 90s that sounded like The Smiths in any way. He didn't want to try and dominate a landscape he himself had shaped-- a commendable willingness to move on. So he did two things: one was to do a 180 by releasing dance-electronic music and the other was to continue playing guitar but in a complementary, more backgrounded role with friends. To try and re-create a variation of The Smiths would've been to start a cover band of his own material.

But I don't think ambition is about this. I don't think Johnny or Morrissey now aspire to be the biggest act in the world; they both hold the mainstream in too much disdain for that. But Morrissey has created a certain cult of personality for himself (which was well under way in the Smiths' era). This is simply something that Johnny doesn't have. Many people now don't even know who Johnny is, but I don't think that's something that would get to him, nor do I think he cares enough about cementing a musical legacy; he would much rather just work with bands that he likes and repects at the time.
 

Jones

Senior Member
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

I think Johnny is ambitious and he would have loved to have more success. Otherwise he wouldn't be constantly chopping and changing. It definitely suggest dissatisfaction. I think there's a desire for more recognition which is why he has been eager to join these younger, hipper bands who have already got the "cool" factor.

Unfortunately I don't think he has the ability to just stick at something and commit. I think he has been told so often that he is brilliant that he expects acclaim and success to happen straight away. If the Cribs project isn't incredibly and immediately successful just watch him walk away again.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

But I don't think ambition is about this. I don't think Johnny or Morrissey now aspire to be the biggest act in the world; they both hold the mainstream in too much disdain for that. But Morrissey has created a certain cult of personality for himself (which was well under way in the Smiths' era). This is simply something that Johnny doesn't have. Many people now don't even know who Johnny is, but I don't think that's something that would get to him, nor do I think he cares enough about cementing a musical legacy; he would much rather just work with bands that he likes and repects at the time.

Okay, I pretty much agree with what you said here but you started by saying Johnny had more ambition than Morrissey, which is something else. Here you're saying we have to define "ambition" differently, and that's what I was trying to say. You're right, he doesn't care about cementing a legacy and he wants to work with bands he likes and respects. He's okay whether the fame, money, and adulation come to him or not.
 

spleenhead

Yes, I am spleen
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

I think Johnny is ambitious and he would have loved to have more success. Otherwise he wouldn't be constantly chopping and changing. It definitely suggest dissatisfaction. I think there's a desire for more recognition which is why he has been eager to join these younger, hipper bands who have already got the "cool" factor.

Unfortunately I don't think he has the ability to just stick at something and commit. I think he has been told so often that he is brilliant that he expects acclaim and success to happen straight away. If the Cribs project isn't incredibly and immediately successful just watch him walk away again.

I don't know, I think it's just because Morrissey is essentially backward-looking and Marr forward-looking, and this is why he takes to bands like The Cribs. Or maybe he just gets bored easily, likes to move on, doesn't see one huge project in front of him, like Worm said. After all, he left The Smiths!
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

I don't know, I think it's just because Morrissey is essentially backward-looking and Marr forward-looking, and this is why he takes to bands like The Cribs. Or maybe he just gets bored easily, likes to move on, doesn't see one huge project in front of him, like Worm said. After all, he left The Smiths!

Exactly. Marr is much bolder than Morrissey, if you want to talk solely about creative innovation. But his problem is that he doesn't know how to really reproduce the music he likes. New Order were wonderful at that. From what I gather they went to Ibiza, soaked up the music, and came up with "Technique", probably their most accomplished album and one of the best of the late-80s. Johnny doesn't seem to be able to do that. It's like going to a wedding and seeing a middle-aged white guy dancing to Lil Wayne or something. Or listening to just about anything David Bowie has recorded since the early Eighties.
 

Orson Swells

Well-Known Member
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

I don't know, I think it's just because Morrissey is essentially backward-looking and Marr forward-looking, and this is why he takes to bands like The Cribs. Or maybe he just gets bored easily, likes to move on, doesn't see one huge project in front of him, like Worm said. After all, he left The Smiths!

... although apparently his wife told him to. ;)

Anyway, post-Smiths I think his career has been the epitome of a lack of ambition. Perhaps deliberately, almost as if he has been afraid to even attempt to challenge the legacy of the Smiths.

Morrissey has faced up to this challenge, of course, and produced work the equal of, and, at times, even surpassing that of his previous band.
 

Jones

Senior Member
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

Marr is afraid to fail. Simple as that. So he hitches himself to a project where he won't be the main focus. Then he can always hold his hands up and walk away.
 

Maurice E

Junior Member
Re: Btw

You're just next door! :eek:

(I struggle with French keyboards, not now, but when I'm in France. So I feel your pain about apostrophes not being at the right place. ;))

Phew, that was a lucky escape!
Alas, no longer in Austria. Have returned safely (by jet plane) to the land of the easy-to-locate apostrophe and, just to prove it, here's one for you!
 

oye terence

ampersand after ampersand
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

'For You" and 'Forbidden city' From Electronic are the two last tracks I can think of his that I have enjoyed.I can think of my two least favorite Morrissey albums, 'Ringleader' and the abysmal Kill Uncle and rather listen to either over "Boomslang' ,any day of the week.
 
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

Aren't all these criticisms of Johnny Marr a little unfair? It's a lot harder for a guitarist to have success on his own than it is for a singer, even if said guitarist is extremely talented.

I wouldn't be so quick to point the finger at Marr for not having as big a solo career as Morrissey, seen as to this date he hasn't, perhaps with the exception of Vive Hate, made an album as good as any of the four Smiths' albums he made. I think the main problem with Moz is that he's spent too long around good, creative musicians, as opposed to great ones, and the same can be said about Marr, albeit with vocalists. For me, and I suspect for most here, when Moz and Marr (and the rest of the band) worked together, they always made something that equalled more than it's parts, sort of making each other sound better in a way that they haven't done since.

If there's any future collaberations I'd really like to see, it's got to be Johnny Marr and Mark Burgess (formerly of The Chameleons), although Morrissey and The Chameleons guitarists would do fine, or be interesting to say the least. Either way, these are the two bands I'd most like to see reform.
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

I wouldn't be so quick to point the finger at Marr for not having as big a solo career as Morrissey, seen as to this date he hasn't, perhaps with the exception of Vive Hate, made an album as good as any of the four Smiths' albums he made. I think the main problem with Moz is that he's spent too long around good, creative musicians, as opposed to great ones, and the same can be said about Marr, albeit with vocalists. For me, and I suspect for most here, when Moz and Marr (and the rest of the band) worked together, they always made something that equalled more than it's parts, sort of making each other sound better in a way that they haven't done since.

This seems a very fair criticism to make. Instead of comparing the raw talent of their collaborators with their chemistry as The Smiths, though, I'd maybe look at the matter this way: if you were compiling a playlist of, say, 50 of your favorite post-Smiths songs by Morrissey and Marr (i.e. the bands he's played with), what would the split look like? 80% Morrissey? 90%?

Or, consider this, maybe: if "Viva Hate" really is, as you say, the only album that matched The Smiths, you would have to carefully cherry-pick 12 Marr tracks from among his very best just to match the dozen on that one Morrissey album.

Any way you look at it, Morrissey is on a completely different level of success than Marr, post-Smiths. I just think a mitigating factor in Johnny's favor is that they've apparently had different goals in mind since '87.
 
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Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

This seems a very fair criticism to make. Instead of comparing the raw talent of their collaborators with their chemistry as The Smiths, though, I'd maybe look at the matter this way: if you were compiling a playlist of, say, 50 of your favorite post-Smiths songs by Morrissey and Marr (i.e. the bands he's played with), what would the split look like? 80% Morrissey? 90%?

Or, consider this, maybe: if "Viva Hate" really is, as you say, the only album that matched The Smiths, you would have to carefully cherry-pick 12 Marr tracks from among his very best just to match the dozen on that one Morrissey album.

Any way you look at it, Morrissey is on a completely different level of success than Marr, post-Smiths. I just think a mitigating factor in Johnny's favor is that they've apparently had different goals in mind since '87.

Can't argue with Moz's success relative to Marr's post-Smiths, or the fact that Moz has done far more quality songs that Marr, but it was always going to happen.
Morrissey was the face of The Smiths, and was going to get the most attention from the fans, and being the vocalist, could afford to swap and change the band he worked with. Johnny Marr had to find a new niche and band to play with to be successful, but being a guitarist, you can't hire and fire people as you please, as Moz has done, and you at least need one other permanent bandmate, the vocalist, to really gain success, which again Moz had.

Anyways, respect to a fellow Tamesider, I'm from Trashton.
 

theneverplayedsymphony

The World's Forgotten Boy
Re: When did Johnny Marr last write a piece of music as euphoric as INY Birthday Anym

When did random thoughts become legitimate subjects for polls?

Should I have had 2 bananas or one this morning with my cereal?

Vote now!

Yes, it's disgusting how many useless threads and polls clog up this sacred site... It makes me ang-ery! This crap, wasting our time that could be used on other threads. Bloody well awful.... :rolleyes:
 
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