Classic Rock Review

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The Who Who’s Next (1971)

98zfFrom sputnikmusic.com

It is my absolute pleasure to take the time to review what is simply put, one of the greatest albums in the history of rock n roll. My name isn’t Entwistle for no good reason. The Who are my biggest influence and I’m proud to say that I was thoroughly amazed at the songwriting on this album. That’s the beauty of this band. They don’t need to put their chops in perspective in order to write great songs. They just make it happen with a flow unlike anyone I’ve heard (with the exception of VERY few other bands). Pete, John and Roger had met in Grammar school as teenagers. After John and Pete had played in Jazz band together, they joined a band where at the time, Roger was on guitar. After making the switch to vocals, Roger invited the two, as well as recruiting Keith Moon to play the drums. After a year together, the band had finally settled on a name; The Who. Enough of me preaching how good The Who are. Let’s get to the review of the album.

So, Who’s Next?

The album shifts into gear with one of its more memorable tracks. Baba O’Reilly is unlike anything I’ve heard from the band, but it’s not a bad thing at all. A toy-like synthesizer tracking let’s you know that this song stays true to its folk roots. The three note bass riff that makes this song famous follows the synths. Three notes have never been so catchy. After the ridiculously catchy bass hook, Keith’s drums and Roger’s powerful voice comes booming in. “Out here in the fields I fight for my meals. I get my back into my living.” This epic was dedicated to Pete Townshend’s spiritual advisor at the time. The powerful drum beats and fills give way to a sudden break in the music where Pete gracefully chants the lyric that everyone will hum after this song. “Don’t cry, don’t brace your eye. It’s only teenage wasteland.” At this point, the synth melody has changed to a more upbeat, major key. The hook goes on until a pretty little guitar interlude gives way to a jittery violin solo. (Live, Roger solos note for note on harmonica.) Until the tempo builds up to end the song. This was one folk masterpiece.

The CD doesn’t let up on you afterwards. We’re in for another hit off the album, Bargain is probably the lyrics that everyone knows. It starts with a mellow acoustic guitar riff until the crazy drum fill kicks into a rockin guitar and great vocals. The verses are quite short, but the choruses are what catches peoples ears. “I call it a bargain, the best I ever had.” The drums are quite nice here and the bass is wonderful. About 2 minutes in Pete starts to sing with John playing a wonderful little lick behind him and Keith pounding with his signature out of place crazy fills. The verse comes back in along with the high energy choruses. The guitar takes a tiny solo afterwards until the dynamics of the verse riff build up to release into the acoustic riff outro.

The next track, Love Aint For Keeping is a shorter, blues oriented song with a lighter feel to the acoustic/electric guitar combination. Roger’s voice is much lighter and heartier than previously. Another song that has out of control drums, and some nice guitar riffage. The length of the song kinda turns me off though. It’s too short and could’ve opened up into a great song if they had worked on it a bit more. But, it’s still okay while it lasts.

This next track is unique from all the others in the fact that the entire song was written by none other than the Ox himself. Correct, Entwistle wrote the catchy number entitled My Wife . Surprisingly, the song isn’t bass driven. It features a cool bassline, but nowhere near bass driven. The hook of the song is probably the brass showcase and the jokey lyrics of adultery. This was another good song that was cut off by time. But the brass was awesome as well as the vocal performance. Okay song, nothing too spectacular.

A drastic change of pace follows. The Song is Over seems almost like an Elton John ballad in the beginning, with the piano and Pete’s mellow voice. But after a minute and a half, Keith and Roger come thundering in, with soaring voices and wild drumming, with a deep bassline. The Elton John persona comes back after a bit, changing back and forth between tempos here and there, with Roger and Pete trade off the spotlight. The bassline is almost percussive, at how well it works with the melodies. The first lyric of the song ends this different, yet cool track.

The next recording, Getting In Tune , is very cool with mellower drumming than the other tracks and very strong voices from Mr. Daltrey. The lyrics are a bit darker and much more heartfelt. The heavier feel of the song is done very tastefully and features a great guitar performance and a counter-melody bassline. The drumming, as a result of being more grounded, keeps the groove there the entire time, which is a reason why I like the song so much. The groove doesn’t let up at all. They combination of drum fills, guitar soloing, and keyboard winding is very cool while Roger wails the title. Awesome song.

Another bluesy song, Going Mobile follows up. This song features Pete singing all the way through and a nice clean electric/acoustic guitar blend of riffing patterns during the verses. It also features some experimenting with effects on guitar in some parts. You can hear the wah and filters buzzing during the quiet interludes. This song seems to have gotten it’s origin from the do-whop era in the late 50’s and the classic oldies. Another thing you may notice is how the drumming is relentless. It’s kinda weird. Calm song, crazy drumming. However, it seems to work well. Another cool, diverse song.

These next two songs are probably the best, as well as most famous songs on the album, beginning with this hit single, Behind Blue Eyes . If you haven’t heard this song, you were most likely born yesterday. It was a great song that was torn to shreds, and you can thank Limp Bizkit for their horrid cover of this. It starts with a light acoustic guitar melody and some emotional lyrics that everyone knows the words to. The chorus lyrics are gut wrenchingly heartfelt, with phrases like ‘And these dreams, they are as empty as my conscience seems to be.” Yeah, it’s a pretty song. About midway through, the tempo picks up with a bridge that just plain out rocks. Roger’s voice is on top form here until they quietly shift back into the final verse to fade out one of the anthems of the 70’s.

The final track on the album is definitely my favorite, and possibly my favorite song of all time. The song is none other than Won’t Get Fooled Again . This is 8 minutes of musical orgasms. It begins with a hyper synth tracking, up until the guitar and bass whistfully pull off a grand riff, roaring and thickly defining Roger’s wailing voice. You can’t exactly hear it, but you can certainly feel the bassline. If you ever get a chance to hear the bass by itself in this song, you will be in awe. I still wonder how John’s hands could’ve moved that fast. The drumming isn’t balls out at all, keeping the entire band sounding excellent. The choruses are energetic with some less serious lyrics and overall just fun feel. Don’t mention that counter melody bass. It’s just too good. There is an ambient section in this song, but don’t be turned off by it, it’ll just sooth you out until the band thunders back in with a rocket propelled performance. This is the Who at their finest. I simply can’t put it any better.

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March 21, 2013 - Posted by | The Who Who's Next |

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