Album: Playland (2014)
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  • This is the title track of Johnny Marr's second solo album. The "Playland" name is inspired by Homo Ludens, a 1938 book by Dutch cultural theorist Johan Huizinga, which explores the concept of play as an important part of cultural development.
  • Although Playland is not a concept album, Marr told Rolling Stone that he found himself gravitating toward themes of escapism while writing its lyrics. "Is consumerism something that, whilst we think we're enjoying it and we need it, is actually escapism?" he asked. "Are drugs and sex and adrenaline something people are pursuing or are we trying to run away from something? There seems to be endless preoccupation with consuming, ingesting, arriving at – or perhaps running away from – the very things that those things are courting."

    "They're themes that can be celebratory, and you can hear the music that way, but at the same time it could also be symptoms of mental illness," he continued. "A song like 'Playland,' it's just classic sex, drugs and religion in a rock & roll song, and in that way, it's not really millions of miles away from a Patti Smith song."
  • Marr told NME how the album addresses why people are trying to lost themselves in distractions. "It seems to me that people in the cities do a lot of chasing through consumerism and through distractions," he said. "Through sex, more consumerism, entertainment, more sex, being online… all things that we're chasing and chasing. What I'm doing on the album is commenting about how this is what we do, but are we doing it because we feel tension, anxiety, boredom…? And if so, are those things created by needing a new phone or a new telly? Trying to get the rent together or money to go to uni, being hungover and all the things we do."

    Marr concluded: "All the things we do are in a loop of cause and effect, but rather than criticising it, I'm almost celebrating it."


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