A lot of things in the world have changed between Johnny Marr's last solo album and his new one, Call the Comet.
And while the former guitarist for The Smiths isn't known to avoid touchy subjects like politics, he acknowledges that many fans were surprised by the record's lack of overt commentary.
Marr says he began writing the album the day after the 2016 election. But having just gone through Brexit in the U.K., he didn't want to revel in whatever sadness, anger or fear he felt while watching the news, as he tells Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke.
"The making of the record was my way of escaping the effects and hiding away," Marr says. "Unless you're a complete ostrich, you can't help but [be affected by] those political decisions. So bits of it crept in."
Beyond the title — which could be construed as Marr's solution to a post-Brexit/post-Trump world — the album is politically agnostic for the most part.
"My protest was to actually make a non-political record."
Call the Comet is the best he could do, given the circumstances and his method.
"Because I look to the outside world and the society that I live in, mostly, for my inspiration, rather than write about my inner world, if you like — inevitably, there's a lot of songs about society and the outside world. ... I didn't want to contaminate my catalog with this characters and these concerns."
In fact, science fiction rules the album's subject matter more than current events. Some of it is allegory, some of it's not. Figuring out where those lines blur is a challenge, Marr will mostly leave to his audience.
Watch the full interview above!
Call the Comet is available now! You can get all Marr's tour dates here.
Check out the music video for Johnny Marr's new song, "Hi Hello":