Review: The Who’s first album in 13-years: Who

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December 11, 2019- by Steven E. Greer

Well, the much-awaited album by The Who called Who arrived. They strangely had gone on a major US tour this year before the release of the album. It left me scratching my head worrying that it would be a flop. But it is not.

Who sounds more Endless Wire than Tommy or Who’s Next. There are no big anthem songs. Instead, each small song is played with a fresh new sound and poignant lyrics.

Pete Townshend got a bit too pretentious in the 80’s, some say (including Roger Daltrey). These lyrics are just right.

The Who these days is really comprised of Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son) on drums, Simon Townshend (Pete’s brother) on guitar and vocals, and Pino Palladino on base. All of them have been touring with The Who for decades. But Pete and Roger don’t want to mess with a good thing and officially change the band.

Recording Engineer James Minto and Pete did a good job producing and engineering this album. It has some nice background sounds and orchestral moments.

The opening song is All This Music Must Fade Away. Pete is lamenting the fact that he is getting old and has lost his guitar-breaking rock and roll urges.

“I don’t care
I know you’re gonna hate this song
And that’s it
We never really got along
It’s not new, not diverse
It won’t light up your parade
It’s just simple verse

All this music will fade
Just like the edge of a blade
All this music will fade
Just like the edge of a blade”

That song sets the stage for the listener to lower expectations. This will not be the finally-completed Life House we have all been hoping for. It will be something else.

In the middle of the album is a string of songs that could become hits. I Don’t Wanna get Wise, Hero Ground Zero, Street Song, and Break the News are very good Who songs with catchy melodies and creative guitars. Interestingly, Break the News is written by Simon, not Pete.

This album should do well on the charts. I hope it inspires curmudgeon Pete to finish Life House.

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