This year’s “Call The Comet” by former The Smith’s guitarist and now solo artist, Johnny Marr achieved all of those attributes and more. However, in 2018 it seems like rock music should be placed on the Endangered Species List.
Of course taste in music is subjective, but a lot of current offerings in pop music appear to have been created with — the musical equivalent of — an Easy Bake Oven. The end result is more of a formulaic product, which lacks true emotion due to excessive compression, and other trickery, giving the listener a quick fix — but feeling like you just binged two number 4’s at McDonalds. Essentially the end result is music without the music. Where’s the beef? Where’s the music?
Unfortunately a lot of people pick what they listen to the way they find a date/hookup on Grindr or Tinder, quickly swiping from track to track, not being patient enough or bothered to finish, as opposed to looking for something more meaningful. Thank you. Next.
A common response to this argument is that there is great music out there, (and there is) but you just have to look hard — very very hard. Did I mention that you have to look very hard?
Finding quality music shouldn’t be as difficult as it is these days. With the more avante garde, experimental stuff — independent darlings in the vein of Blood Orange or Ariel Pink — the trend seems to be to muddle in a confusing collage of sound, that can be interesting, for about a minute, but in the end, some of it meanders into nothing too substantial, lacking focus, a clear melody or direction. Cuts to music education programs surely haven’t done us any good.
It is no secret that the music industry and music in general is not what it used to be. I am not a huge fan of the corporate streaming sites where we rely on soulless algorithms to dictate what we may or may not like. I recommend visiting Bandcamp.com or NPR.com and explore their sites.
Luckily this year we had “Call The Comet,” Johnny Marr’s brilliant second solo album, that from beginning to end is the best album of 2018.
“Hi Hello” and “Day In And Day Out” feel like a full on Smiths reunion. The Smiths disbanded in 1987, but were never forgotten and are one of the most requested bands that people would hope to reform, due to the once in a lifetime collaboration between two of the most gifted songwriters to live.
Former Smiths frontman, Morrissey, a wordsmith and poet — who unfortunately has become insufferable in his personal life — is just a mere afterthought by the end of Call the Comet. It is clear that Morrissey needs Marr more than Marr needs Morrissey — who selfishly will not entertain a Smiths reunion.
Here, Marr appears to be just getting started. With his guitar God status fully intact, he strums unique textures and layers as well as belts out some really nice melodies. Call The Comet gets better the further traveling into its depths. Other outstanding tracks include the not to be overlooked “Spiral Cities” and “My Eternal” which sounds like something off of “First And Last And Always” by The Sisters Of Mercy
Near the end, “Walk Into The Sea,” trudges through Marr’s glistening waves of sound, as he signals with a forward marching rhythm, eventually succumbing to the repeated phrase, “And hope breaks on me.” It is as if he is hypnotically guiding us into a state of hope.
We are living through dark, unbelievably trying times. But there is hope for the future of music and the future of our current broken world. Things can only get better from here.