Johnny Marr has announced details of his second solo album. Titled Playland, the follow-up to his 2013 solo debut The Messenger will be released on October 6, in conjunction with the lead single, ‘Easy Money.’ The album will be available on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.
Marr’s sophomore album was written while on the road promoting The Messenger over the past two years. Unlike his debut, with its recording divided between Berlin, New York, and Manchester, Playland is entirely a product of London, recorded solely at Tritone Studios near Tower Bridge.
‘It was deliberate to work in London,’ Marr told the NME. ‘Where you work definitely affects how it sounds and seeps into the music, and I’ve developed a really good feeling for London in the past couple of years, I like the frenetic atmosphere.’
His environment was clearly instrumental to the sound of the new 11-song collection. Built around the central theme of ‘songs that move at the speed of life,’ Marr explains: ‘The album’s main themes are the atmosphere of the city, and the preoccupations of the people who live in them, those preoccupations being consumerism, sex, and anxiety, or distraction and transcendence from those things.’
Like The Messenger, there is an autobiographical element to some of the songs. ’25 Hours,’ in particular, is about the realization he had as a child of having to escape a life that was laid out in front of him. He explains the song’s lyric: ‘Being chased by the priests and the freaks who are hunting me down with attitude/The heat and the bricks are falling on me like doom.’ ‘I was immersed in the Catholic school system and an oppressive upbringing, looking at a life of having to consort with people that I didn’t want to be around,’ he says. ‘I realized you need to find some escape to break out of that, and that’s when I realized art was a way of escaping, in my case the music I was making or wanted to make. I would’ve been eight or nine, and I knew I just needed to escape the life that I was in. I got a sense of what might be my destiny if I didn’t do that.’
The city streets are home to ‘Dynamo,’ described by Marr as a ‘love affair with a building.’ The song was inspired by his interest in psychogeorgaphy, the study of an environment’s effect on the behavior of the humans within it.
‘It might happen when you look up at a building, modern or old, on a clear summer day, big blue sky behind it filled with jet streams, and not being able to help think of stories that go with it all. I’ve been interested in the city and the people in it since I was a kid, it has this romantic attraction I just clicked with. Then when I was older I started reading more about it and got into the philosophy behind it. Of course, when you’re writing about something like that, it often works out that you’re writing about a person too.’
The album’s title was inspired by Homo Ludens, a highly influential book by Dutch historian and cultural theorist, Johan Huizinga. ‘Homo Ludens’ translates to ‘Man The Player’ or ‘Playing Man.’ The 1938 text, according to Johnny Marr’s website, ‘explores the concept of play as a precursor and principal element of cultural development.’
As with The Messenger, Playland was produced by Marr with co-producer and band member Doviak.
Playland Track listing:
- Back In The Box
- Easy Money
- 25 Hours
- The Trap
- Speak Out Reach Out
- Boys Get Straight
- This Tension
- Little King
After the album’s release, Marr embarks on a thirteen-date UK tour:
Oct. 13: The Engine Shed, Lincoln, UK
Oct. 14: Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, UK
Oct. 15: De La Warr, Bexhill, UK
Oct. 17: Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK
Oct. 18: Great Hall, Cardiff, UK
Oct. 20: O2 Academy, Bournemouth, UK
Oct. 21: Corn Exchange, Cambridge, UK
Oct. 23: O2 Academy Brixton, London, UK
Oct. 24: Pavilion, Bath, UK
Oct. 25: O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK
Oct. 27: O2 Academy, Glasgow. UK
Oct. 28: O2 Academy, Newcastle, UK
Oct. 29: O2 Academy, Leeds, UK