Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Who - Who's Next

The Who - Who's Next
Published in 1971

I'm writing this album project from my iPod, so if I mess anything up, that is why.  There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. I have a four hour trip to Busan, South Korea, and if I can get some of these projects done on the trip, I'll not feel like a complete price of dirt.

However, there is the speed of typing issue, and catching up to these songs can be a bit hard. Especially when you are talking about a band as driving and great as The Who.

Who's Next is a classic for many reasons, and as a person who enjoys albums it's hard to not just gush all over it.  Listening to this album is like listening to your favorite classic rock station, because this is just a plain awesome classic album.

Interestingly, at least to me, it is not a incredibly hard album. I know, this was a simpler time, when a rock album could have things like feelings and ideas without being an emo scream cry whine fest.   What happened? Why did we leave this behind?  This classic has the same classic problem that most classics have, though, which is that it sounds a bit cliched. But, of course,  that is beacause it has been blatently ripped off and stolen from.

It's suprisingly gentle for a rock album. It's not about distruction and death, but it is about singing and finding. It's quiet and reflects some of their later experiments (ugh, nothing sounds as pretentious as saying 'experiments' when talking about music) with epic length stories and songs.  You never feel lostin these longer songs thoug, but whether that is because they stick to the formula well or because the quality of the songwriting leads you through the song.

I cannot tell if The Who are just an enigma or if they are actually what they appear to be.  What I mean is, are they actually as pensive as their songs would lead us to believe, or are they just trying to present themselves that way?  It's actually a question that I have about a lot of these classic albums.  Everyone says that the state of music has gotten simpler and dumber over the past 45? 50? years, and that when they were kids, the music used to mean something, man.  Which sounds like a huge load or bullshit to me, because some of these songs are very pedestrian in content, but would probably be hailed as 'better songwriting' than most of the modern music. I have a theory though.

What I think most influences a musical group is what is permissable in the culture surrounding us.  The role of the art, according to the eminent philosopher Douglas Adams said, is to hold up a mirror to the world and show it itself.  The world was less permissible in certain areas, so the band was reflecting a fundamentally different surface than the one that we see today. My point is not that The Who would be singing Linkin Park songs or something today, but that the classic rock that they perform is another form of nostalgia that we indulge in. We find the mirrors of the past to be smaller and easier to look at then he ones that are reflecting our own time, especially when we can see them as great.

This mirror is one of my favorite classic rock albums. Baba O'Riley and Won't Get Fooled Again are two songs that can bring the house down, no matter where yuu are, and even CSI: Miami cannot ruin that scream for me.  It's a moment of glorious anticipation, feinting and darting, coming up and finally satisfying you.  Much like this album.

Anyway, this is probably a not optional album, but the not optional nature is implied by it's classic nature.  I don't have anyone to thank for this one, so I'll just link you to the Seoul Survivors website and tell you how it goes.

We all know Sanchez was a loose cannon,

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