15 August 2007

The Essential Albums: Who's Next

The Who-> is a band of paradoxes.

I remember their searing performance in the film Woodstock of selections from the album / rock opera Tommy -- just riveting. Recently I saw both the film versions of Tommy and Quadraphenia. Ken Russell ruined the film Tommy, despite Anne-Margaret and Keith Moon's stellar contributions; The Who Productions, Ltd.'s film Quadraphenia is, on the other hand, superlative, accurately mod vs. rocker in mid-Sixties south Britain. It's Pete Townsend aesthetically desublimating the universal youth identity crisis. (See Eric Erikson and Herbert Marcuse.)

Then there's the band's anarchistic antics: Keith Moon detonating his drum kit on The Smother Brothers Show and permanently damaging Townsend's hearing; and Townsend smashing beautiful guitars and amps for the sake of pre-punk rock n' roll mayhem alone -- Pete Townsend, the godfather of punk, and Moon his ulta-talented, crazy drunken mate.

There are two The Who albums that set standards never been equalled. The rock opera Quadraphenia is the most successfully ambitious rock opera ever written. But no other The Who album is essential to your collection, for the road, the car, bus, the truck, and home, except Who's Next.

I know I won't get fooled again
-- yea, meet the new boss, same as the old boss
-- my dreams they aren't as empty, as my conscience seems to be
-- I got to rest some time so I can get up and run some more.

Get your head on the road and dig the Moog, Marshals, and Moon.

Epigram: Daltrey, let your hair grow; Pete, quit trying so hard; John and Keith, Requiescat in Pace.

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