Johnny Marr, “Easy Money” from Playland (2014): One Track Mind

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“Easy Money,” from Johnny Marr’s forthcoming solo album Playland, is ridiculously listenable — the kind of thing that might balance out his terminally morose former bandmate Morrissey.

No, it doesn’t sound anything like the Smiths. And as with Electronic, his subsequent collaboration with Bernard Sumner of New Order, that’s a very good thing. Instead, “Easy Money” finds a happy-go-lucky groove and just keeps digging.

Marr has perhaps never sounded more engaged than he does lately or, well, happier. Maybe it’s because he’s free of all that, and I don’t mean that as a slight against the decade-defining mope classics he created with Morrissey. Marr has seen his share of fame, it’s clear, and he has a more mature idea of what’s important.

Playland is due on October 7, 2014 via Warner, and will be accompanied by a UK tour (also beginning in October) as well as U.S. dates, to kick off in November. There’ll be the inevitable cries for “How Soon is Now?” — and it’s, no doubt, a must-play item. But Marr’s head is clearly in a different place now, a better place. Or, at the very least, a place that’s much more fun.

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