The Messenger

Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
Buy On
  1. Q Magazine
    Feb 8, 2013
    60
    Everyone, while unsurprised that his vocals are unobtrusive and his lyrics unspectacular, will seek that greatness in the guitars. [Mar 2013, p.94]
  2. Mar 18, 2013
    60
    The massively influential Smiths guitarist finally makes the solid solo debut he should've recorded a quarter-century ago.
  3. Feb 20, 2013
    40
    The result is a collection of workmanlike indie-rock songs that fall some way short of being a good album and a long, long way from being the work of a Godlike Genius.
  4. Feb 19, 2013
    60
    This is a solid, enjoyable solo debut that’s certainly worth investigation if you’re a long-term Marr watcher.
  5. Feb 26, 2013
    50
    The disc’s overall pleasantness and pasteurized charm are what save it from being wholly aggravating.
  6. Feb 27, 2013
    60
    So, no, Marr isn't exactly reinventing rock here--he already did that. The Messenger feels more like a tribute to his youth, to his home, and to all the musicians he's worked with over the past three decades.
  7. Mar 7, 2013
    60
    His vocals do the job, even as his lyrics will probably keep the majority of ears fixed on the instrumentation.
  8. Magnet
    Mar 15, 2013
    60
    He's perfectly adequate as a singer and melody writer, but he doesn't have the indelible personality of a Morrissey or Isaac Brock. [No. 96, p.56]
  9. Mar 8, 2013
    60
    The lyrical flaws are not a fatal stab, but it’s an enormous burden.
  10. Feb 8, 2013
    50
    Marr’s guitar work can be fascinating--but it’s forever shadowed by less-appealing vocal work.
  11. Feb 25, 2013
    60
    The [emotional] connection is missing because of The Messenger's overarching weaknesses: the voice and the lyrics.
  12. Jun 4, 2013
    40
    Trouble is, the songs themselves are instantly forgettable, devoid of alluring melody or interesting lyrical content, and sung by a limited vanilla voice lacking in character.
  13. 40
    Some of the riffs are winners, but it's just not enough to carry the album.
  14. The Independent on Sunday (UK)
    Feb 25, 2013
    60
    He's not breaking any moulds--it's solid, guitar led, pop-rock--but then Marr is the man for that job.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jan 31, 2014
    8
    A lot of sniffy cynicism in the main musical press for this album and I'm mystified. This is a fine piece of work with riffs and hooks onlyA lot of sniffy cynicism in the main musical press for this album and I'm mystified. This is a fine piece of work with riffs and hooks only Johnny could lay down. Listen, Don Van Vliet in the power vocal department he ain't but neither was Jimi Hendrix or Bert Jansch. The guy's unique ability with the guitar overrides any lack of octaves in his voice. Anyway his voice is great on this record. Another critique from the press is the lyrics. Is this because they were hoping for some Morriseyesque whimsical poetry? Had this record been released by a trendy new outfit of 19 year olds the hacks would be raving with 5 stars. Full Review »
  2. Mar 21, 2016
    8
    Johnny Marr continues to showcase his instrumental brilliance with The Messenger. It's true...the songs are lyrically uninspiring at times,Johnny Marr continues to showcase his instrumental brilliance with The Messenger. It's true...the songs are lyrically uninspiring at times, therefore missing an opportunity to connect with listeners. However, for a lover of high quality guitar work, that can be excused. Fantastic sound! And hey, his vocals aren't too bad either! Full Review »
  3. a69
    Apr 30, 2013
    10
    Tip top spot of Indie Rock. Has shades of The Jam and New Order about it in places. Doesn't break much new ground, but I wouldn't expect a 50Tip top spot of Indie Rock. Has shades of The Jam and New Order about it in places. Doesn't break much new ground, but I wouldn't expect a 50 year old to do so. Does what you'd want t to do and delivers the goods. Full Review »