Friday, March 11, 2005


Not To Be Taken Seriously

by Glenn Cripes

There are three eras of Who records. There's the Early Funny Era (My Generation through Sell Out), the Epic Era (Tommy through Quadrophenia) and the Oops, I'm Old Era (The Who By Numbers through It's Hard).

Today we look at an LP from the third era, Who Are You.

The first track, New Song establishes the fact that we're in trouble here. Whenever a songwriter writes a song about writing a song it's always a bad sign....stay tuned--it gets worse.

Second up we have an Entwistle entry, Had Enough. Not a bad song--it sounds like it could have gone on Quadrophenia, and this is about as good as this record gets. Up next is another Entwistle tune, 3.905 which sounds like an outtake from one of his solo records, putting it below the rank of even a sub par Who song.

Sister Disco starts out promisingly until the awful 'goodbye Sister Disco' refrain. The only thing worse than a songwriter writing a song about writing a song is a songwriter writing a song about another song. The only thing worse than that is the next number Music Must Change, a song about 'an unrealized sound'--if only it stayed unrealized. This odious jazz tango finds Pete wallowing in his uninspired crapulence hiding behind hackneyed metaphors about volcanoes, sparrows soaring, stones sinking, and mountains being crushed.

Turn over to side two and it's John "Mr. B Side" Entwistle pinch hitting once more. Trick of the Light, a song about visiting a prostitute backed by a flaccid riff does this album no favors.

Guitar And Pen finds Pete in an avuncular vein. He advises young songwriters to 'never spend your guitar or your pen'. I guess Pete gets a lot of letters from aspiring songwriters. Much like Sister Disco, this one is ok if you can shut out the embarrassing lyrical content.

Love Is Coming Down distinguishes itself on this record by being a real song about feelings as opposed to bloated sonnets to an empty page. It provides a bit of relief here, but anywhere else it would be a flatline drag.

The title track, Who Are You has been a staple in The Who's live act since it's release. It just goes to show if a band keeps playing a song people will just take it for granted that it's a good song. I'm not buying it.

The previous LP The Who By Numbers was no great shakes, but at least it was honestly quirky. Who Are You is quite simply bogged down by Pete Townshend's arrogance in thinking that throwing patented Who-ish bells and whistles in would be distracting enough to fool people into thinking this was worthwhile. It's records like this that make me shake my head and wonder why I ever liked these guys.

Ur opinions are worthless, but thankyou
I agree, the Who never quite had it,a lack of intellectual content i presume they were secondary mod,mods and not grammer school unlike most of their competition,thanks for interesting articles

yours,Manly Hardacres
This is my favorite Who album, I don't agree with you but it is funny to read
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