best of 2014-more god than mod by song list rat


with the end of 2014 drawing close the rat sits in his nest of song lists and reflects on the best of the best. early in 2014 johnny marr played at southbound busselton wa. marr was the lead guitarist with the seminal uk band the smiths. it was his guitar playing in the 1980’s that heralded a quantum change in the way music was played with all smiths songs  credited to morrisey/marr. when i left australia in the early 1980’s i was a dissolute youth. like the bellman in lewis carroll’s the hunting of the snark my life map was directionless. A PERFECT AND ABSOLUTE BLANK i saw the smiths a number of times and their music resonated with me and  gave my life some direction. after the smith acrimonious breakup marr has appeared in a number of bands over the years. he has always taken a back stage presence but his guitar playing has elevated these bands to new dizzying musical heights. most notably modest mouse. 2013 saw the release of marr’s first solo recording THE MESSENGER which was a thumping great record. i must admit i was nervous to see marr again. would my hero deliver as he did in the 1980s or would he be a has been and a flop. i met two girls from tel aviv with home made FUCKEN JONNHY MARR singlets. they reassured me they had been to every marr concert in australia so far and he had been fantastic. when marr takes stage my two new best friends are down the front and unfurl another home made product. a large banner reading GENERATE GENERATE. marr takes centre stage, he is the consummate mod from the 60s with neat short mod bowl hair cut and stove pipe jeans on skinny legs. tied inextricably to his fender jaguar. polite greeting and then straight into RIGHT THING RIGHT which is all jangling guitar. then follows the smiths classic STOP ME IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE. it a great guitar sound but its not morrisey singing! then a couple more from THE MESSENGER and it’s into another smiths classic THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT. this could be the most beautiful song ever written. marr of course nails the song musically but also by now his vocals are hitting the point and it really doesn’t matter that morrisey isn’t singing. and so the show goes some smiths some marr with I FOUGHT THE LAW thrown in. marr is ever going back to his onstage guitarchestra just to fine tune the sound. listen closely and the songs from THE MESSENGER pay homage to a number of musical styles over the years. GENERATE GENERATE is punk, WORLD STARTS ATTACK has a psychedelic flourish and GETTING AWAY WITH IT is almost electronica. it ends with HOW SOON IS NOW which is pure heaven in  a guitar. pure marr. the smiths may have written the script to my life but today i came face to face with the man who wrote the melody. johnny marr is truly a guitar god

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