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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.02 | 1339 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars In a genre as full of bizarre concoctions as progressive rock, A PASSION PLAY must be one of the craziest gallimaufries around. Many proggers just can't stand it, and even Ian Anderson has written (in his liner notes to the 2003 remastered edition): 'The badge of honour worn today by the hard line Tull fan who knows everything, is to claim to have listened all the way through, twice'.

Well, I may be a JT fan, but there are at least seven of their albums I don't know (all of them post-1979), and still - I never had a problem with a PASSION PLAY. This must be because I grew up with it and digested it slowly, in the same way as TUBULAR BELLS or CLOSE TO THE EDGE.

Oh, I do understand that A PASSION PLAY suffers from some shallow patches. When Ian first starts singing, for example, it sounds kinda... boring, and he's definitely not helped by the sheer awfulness of the lyrics. Lines like "She lay her head upon my disbelief and bathed me with her ever-smile" just about make me want to puke. But let's not forget what a splendid instrumental introduction the album has! And with the "All along the icy wastes..." passage A PASSION PLAY takes off for real. From then onwards, the listener finds himself on a rollicking rollercoaster ride, full of exuberant folk-rock dances, brash guitar riffs, pretty pastoral intermezzos, manic flute and sax solos, and crazy keyboard interludes. The sheer variety of sounds and melodies is exhilerating, and when (on the original B-side) Ian reaches the passage "Colours I've none - dark or light, red, white or blue", the band rock as hard as Jethro Tull have ever done.

I see no need to use the word 'self-indulgence' in such a context. A PASSION PLAY is a glorious entertainment, one of the most accomplished Jethro Tull have offered us.

fuxi | 5/5 |


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