“Capitalism and religion aren’t working” – Johnny Marr on the inspiration behind new single ‘The Tracers’

Watch our 'Song Stories' video with the guitar legend

Johnny Marr has revealed that his new single ‘The Tracers’ deals with a plea for an alternative society after the “failure” of capitalism and religion. Watch our ‘Song Stories’ video with Marr above.

The lead single and first taster of the former Smiths star’s third solo album ‘Call The Comet’, ‘The Tracers’ was first inspired by themes from dystopian sci-fi.

“I had the title for a while and it suggested an otherworldly kind of being,” Marr told NME. “The vibe of the whole record has got an otherworldly sort of feeling to it anyway. It suggested some kind of intelligence. Not quite aliens, I’m not there yet. The idea of the song is that the Earth is looking towards alternative intelligence to help us out from the malaise or dilemma that we may find ourselves in.


“The Tracers are the either a form of intelligence from a parallel universe, a different dimension or a different planet.”

Johnny Marr announces details of his new album 'Call The Comet'
Johnny Marr announces details of his new album ‘Call The Comet’

He continued: “I was writing ‘The Tracers’ over the period of a week or so, and this phrase ‘Call The Comet’ came from my subconscious as a kind of plea. The sounds highfaluting, but it’s a call for something to come and help us because materialism isn’t work, capitalism isn’t working, religion isn’t working, politics isn’t working.

“It was then pointed out to me by a friend that comet’s are usually about annihilation, but I didn’t really see it that way – I saw it as a reset.”

Watch our ‘Song Stories’ video at the top of the page, as Marr also discusses the dramatic music video, and taking inspiration from his collaborators Han Zimmer and Maxine Peake. 

Johnny Marr, 2018
Johnny Marr


Johnny Marr releases new solo album ‘Call The Comet’ on June 15.

Johnny Marr tour dates and tickets

Marr’s upcoming tour dates are below. Tickets are available here.


12 – Ireland, Dublin, Button Factory
14 – UK, Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
16 – UK, London, Islington Assembly Hall
18 – Sweden, Stockholm, Nalen
19 – Denmark, Copenhagen, Vega
20 – The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Paradiso Noord
21 – Germany, Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg
24 – France, Paris, La Gaîté Lyrique
30 – Canada, Toronto, Velvet Underground
31 – USA, New York, Gramercy Theatre

2 – USA, San Francisco, August Hall
5 – USA, Los Angeles, Teragram Ballroom