Johnny Marr “Upstarts” From Forthcoming Solo Album - KROQ

Orson Swells

Well-Known Member
Oh dear! Nice music. Nice guitars. Shame about the vocal and lyrics. What a dreadful song! I'd rather listen to The Kid's A Looker...
 

21punksalute

Junior Member
I asked my dog if she could come up with better lyrics. Turns out hers are waaay better ( if only she could play guitar)
 

mcrickson

Reckless Endangerment
I find it hard to believe that he hasn't learned something about lyric writing from all these bands he's been in - granted, I've never listened to a one of them for more than ten seconds. I'm not saying I want him to write like Morrissey, but

Ooooooh, I feel it comin' round. I hear it - sounds like the good life, I know ??

Literally no advancement past the lyrics on Boomslang a decade ago. I get what he's trying to do with the whole "retrospective" theme about growing up in Manchester - forgivable only for the music it inspires him to write. But Christ. Does it really take that much thought to write some words with a little more imagination and subtlety?
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Literally no advancement past the lyrics on Boomslang a decade ago. I get what he's trying to do with the whole "retrospective" theme about growing up in Manchester - forgivable only for the music it inspires him to write.
I'm not sure I do get it. He keeps talking endlessly about how the album is inspired by his teenage life and growing up in Manchester....but what on earth have any of these songs got to do with Manchester? Or growing up, or Europe, or anything? His lyrics are meaningless twaddle and if he hadn't explicitly mentioned Manchester on several occasions I'd be none the wiser as to the inspiration. Piss-poor.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I find it hard to believe that he hasn't learned something about lyric writing from all these bands he's been in - granted, I've never listened to a one of them for more than ten seconds. I'm not saying I want him to write like Morrissey, but

Ooooooh, I feel it comin' round. I hear it - sounds like the good life, I know ??

Literally no advancement past the lyrics on Boomslang a decade ago. I get what he's trying to do with the whole "retrospective" theme about growing up in Manchester - forgivable only for the music it inspires him to write. But Christ. Does it really take that much thought to write some words with a little more imagination and subtlety?
Yeah. For sheer entertainment value, I'd hoped he would try to get abstract on these songs.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I really hated the "overground" lyric, until I discovered that Overground is actually a thing in Britain.

Marr will never be Morrissey lyrically, he has led a different life, has a different personality.

I still love T.Rex, Brian Wilson, and Bowie, and the majority of their lyrics are bosh; because they write catchy fun pop tunes, and that's all Upstarts is.

Wanting Johnny to be deep and literate is the same as wanting Morrissey to write his own music using major 9ths and beautiful arpeggios, its never going to happen, so stop trying to compare them that way.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
To the people complaining about the lyrics,

Just know that this is the most bland song lyrically on the album. The other songs are more arty and less trite and do talk sometimes about his youth, although they may be slightly cringeworthy/pretentious in their artiness. Musically, vocal hook-wise it is just as solid as any of the past 3 Moz albums, guitar hook-wise it is of course much much much better. I really haven't heard the new album, just the live versions.

If you are interested in hearing the shitty live versions before album comes out and a b-side, listen to these...

European Me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-aMEONFr0k
Sun And Moon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9vs7ll7waA
New Town Velocity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edAn5p5bze0
Psychic Beginner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN9-x3qZVJs
Generate Generate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tztgJ3DOHbU

I think they are all great, much better than Upstarts.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I really hated the "overground" lyric, until I discovered that Overground is actually a thing in Britain.

Marr will never be Morrissey lyrically, he has led a different life, has a different personality.

I still love T.Rex, Brian Wilson, and Bowie, and the majority of their lyrics are bosh; because they write catchy fun pop tunes, and that's all Upstarts is.

Wanting Johnny to be deep and literate is the same as wanting Morrissey to write his own music using major 9ths and beautiful arpeggios, its never going to happen, so stop trying to compare them that way.
I don't think anyone is expecting lyrics that are deep and literate, that's not Johnny's style, but nonsense like "The underground is overground, the overground will pull you down" is just meaningless. The couplets rhyme in a way that suggests he's just sat down in the studio 10 minutes before recording and thought, "Right... 'down, ground, round, pound, goes, knows, shows, , er... what rhymes with "way"? And he wouldn't know to construct a vocal hook if it hit him in the face. "People are the Same Everywhere" might well be the worst Morrissey song I have ever heard, but it has a better vocal melody than "Upstarts".
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I don't think anyone is expecting lyrics that are deep and literate, that's not Johnny's style, but nonsense like "The underground is overground, the overground will pull you down" is just meaningless. The couplets rhyme in a way that suggests he's just sat down in the studio 10 minutes before recording and thought, "Right... 'down, ground, round, pound, goes, knows, shows, , er... what rhymes with "way"?
That's what I initially thought until I read up on Overground, and decided he was being (hopefully) cheeky. Overground and Underground meaning the trains, and overground and underground meaning the indie scene; overground meaning the opposite of underground is really f***ing stupid by itself, BUT if he means the trains as well and is playing off of that, which I think he is if the album is truly about life in Britain, I give him a pass.

And I also read that he is looking back at his teens for the album and using his influences during that era as a reference, then he is (hopefully) mimicking the daft lyrics of that era as well. I think my theory is sound, look at the video for Upstarts, it is shot on video and made to look unprofessional and framed in old TV format to look like a video from 1980-1981.
 

Thewlis

Junior Member
It's by far the worst song that has surfaced so far. Quite rightly it's got nothing but horrible reviews so far, worse than Moz has ever had to endure.
A shame really, cause the other ones I've heard are quite promising.
Why didn't he stick with The Messenger as first single? That's a decent song.
Now the album won't stand a chance.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
It's by far the worst song that has surfaced so far. Quite rightly it's got nothing but horrible reviews so far, worse than Moz has ever had to endure.
A shame really, cause the other ones I've heard are quite promising.
Why didn't he stick with The Messenger as first single? That's a decent song.
Now the album won't stand a chance.
You have to remember The Smiths made poor decisions when releasing singles as well.

Releasing William It Was Really Nothing as an A-side with How Soon Now and Please Let Me Get What I Want as the b-sides while they had the first album hype behind them and the Hatful Of Hollow hype building is probably the biggest blunder in indie rock history.

The second biggest blunder was releasing Ask as an A-side instead of promoting the Queen Is Dead by releasing There Is A Light or I Know It's Over as singles.

The third was releasing Shakespeare's Sister, Barbarism, Shelia Take A Bow, Ask, and I Started Something as singles at all, there are far better songs that deserved those spots and promotion! Like Still Ill, Reel, Please, You Just Haven't Earned It, and the Queen Is Dead cuts I mentioned before.

My view on first singles in general, is that they are USUALLY (not EVERYtime,ok?) one of the weakest tracks on a new album, but they help sell you the sound of the majority of the album. The 2nd and 3rd singles are usually the strongest and are most likely to be the hits. It's a way for the record label to tip their toe in the water, and see if people are digging the sound enough to totally get behind the cuts they feel could be hits. But now with the internet and the millions of bands vying for attention this is a bad plan, you need the great songs first. I think European Me or New Town Velocity would've been perfect for this new internet model, but they went with an easily digestible weaker track, and I hope it doesn't turn too many potential album buyers off.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
First time I heard it I wasn't blown away but after a couple of listens it's well and truly hooked itself in my head, which is the sign of a good song.

Lyrically is it amazing? No. Does it have to be? Going by the title it sounds like Marr trying to channel the youthful enthusiasm of a young group setting out in the music biz, so lyrics that are a bit more rock n roll/ punk spunk rather than amazingly witty Wildean poetry seems fine to me. What's the problem with the 'overground, underground lyrics?' So-called 'underground' bands and labels are now often nothing of the sort, but carefully packaged safe versions of rebellion marketed by 'indie' labels who are actually subsiduaries of major record companies. And yes - the 'overground' ie: mainstream success can pull a lot of people down, rock n roll is littered with the corpses of artists and bands who made the big time then blew up spectacularly (including, it could be argued, the Smiths).

Is this exactly what he's going on about? f*** know, but it makes sense to me. As much sense as 'All over Battersea, some hope and some despair repeat x 4' makes anyway.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
It's by far the worst song that has surfaced so far. Quite rightly it's got nothing but horrible reviews so far, worse than Moz has ever had to endure.
A shame really, cause the other ones I've heard are quite promising.
Why didn't he stick with The Messenger as first single? That's a decent song.
Now the album won't stand a chance.
Who gave "Upstarts" horrible reviews? Maybe you can give me some links because I didn't find any yet. Actually I like the song, Marr isn't a lyrical genius or a poet like mozza, but overall, the song is good. I think this song has allot of depth, and unfortunately I can't say the same thing about the sterile pop-rock that is being promoted nowadays.
I think that Mozza got sterile a long time ago, as many other artists in their '50 did.
 

Kewpie

Member
Moderator
Subscriber
It's by far the worst song that has surfaced so far. Quite rightly it's got nothing but horrible reviews so far, worse than Moz has ever had to endure.
A shame really, cause the other ones I've heard are quite promising.
Why didn't he stick with The Messenger as first single? That's a decent song.
Now the album won't stand a chance.
On 17 January BBC 6 Music Steve Lamacq show's regular feature Round Table reviewed this single.

Andrew Harrison, Gabriel Evans and Alex from Everything Everything gave 7 each, listeners gave 6.

These three people said really nice things about the song, pity you missed a chance listening to them.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
On 17 January BBC 6 Music Steve Lamacq show's regular feature Round Table reviewed this single.

Andrew Harrison, Gabriel Evans and Alex from Everything Everything gave 7 each, listeners gave 6.

These three people said really nice things about the song, pity you missed a chance listening to them.
Have we had any proper reviews of this song/album yet? Anyone?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Have we had any proper reviews of this song/album yet? Anyone?
There is a review from some Irish blog who seemed to give it a very good to excellent rating, but not a "classic".

And in every interview Johnny has done, before getting on with the interview, the writer says it's excellent. But of course, they could just be saying that to be nice.

From what I've heard from the live songs, which doesn't include 2 songs on the album, I'd say it will be 3 1/2 stars out of 5. Which thankfully is far better than the Healers' album.
 
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