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The Who - Whos Next CD (album) cover

WHOS NEXT

The Who

 

Proto-Prog

4.38 | 366 ratings

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Evans
5 stars I had this album quite a while before i fully started appreciating it. I listened to it quite a lot during that time, liking a few of the songs, but never understanding why it was such a "masterpiece" and i was pretty much prepared to leave it that way. But one day while going on a quite long trip to norway for a week, i decided to bring this album, hoping to finally understand it. While sitting in front of the bus with my headphones on, i started to read in the booklet that followed my 1995 remaster, and which i had been too lazy to really read before.

Reading about Pete Townshend's hugely ambitious Lifehouse project, i laughed out loud several times, thinking "how pretentious can one man get without turning into ELP?" but at the same time i started to realise truly what a visionary Pete Townshend really was. To think that you can really save the world with rock and roll, it's really quite adorable in the way that makes you tilt your head and go "aww", but at the same time it is very inspiring to know that there actually are people like that, in the world, but also in the music business. People who don't just do it for the sex and the drugs, but have a vision and decide to use music as their means of communicating it. For me, Pete Townshend is one of the true prog heroes, along with Robert Fripp, Frank Zappa and a few more.

Musically, the album is terrific. The band has really matured at this point, and the songwriting is sophisticated and the musicians are all great. All the guys are an amazing joy to listen to, but in my opinion it is, speaking as a guy who doesn't really pay attention to the drums in music that much, Keith Moon who is the most impressive, with his ferociously unpredictable "lead-drumming". The only piece which really touches me emotionally on "Who's next" is "Behind Blue Eyes", however, especially with the middle sections where Daltrey gives it his most, practically spitting out the words in an almost Hammill-esque performance. Really powerful. Despite "Behind Blue Eyes", emotion is not the reason why "Who's Next" is going to be given the highest reating, but the the absolutely superb songwriting by Pete Townshend, along with the shining performances by his band members.

"Baba O'Riley" is my favourite with the anticipating intro and the thee banging piano chords, followed by one of my my favourite Moon performances ever, a great voice singing great lyrics, and violin outro which, while good, comes in waaay to early. That is my only real gripe with this song, that it should have been longer. Another highlight follows directly after in "Bargain" and "My wife" is the John Entwisle comical relief of the album ("remember 'boris the spider'"). "The song is over" is a great song with a "proggish", if you like, build and... no, really, there are too many highlights to mention them all, it is a solid album from start to finish.

Most of the (Proto-)prog on "Who's Next" is mainly contained in the synthesizers, Pete pioneered the use of programmed synths as a ground to build the songs on, instead of just a novelty instrument to make fun solos and put them in songs with (it was also an integral part of the lifehouse-project, but i won't talk more about it here, instead i recommend that you read about it, either in the booklet or somewhere else, it's a very interesting read).

The bonus tracks on the remastered edition is great as well. good live versions of older tracks, as well as an abandoned track which would in truth be one of my favourite The Who songs ever, "Pure and easy". It was the reason i came coming back to the album even when i did not enjoy it as much as it deserved, and also the spark which caused Pete to start "Lifehouse" and subsequently burn himself out completely.

I could go on and on about Who's Next, but i suspect that y'all pretty much know it all already, so i will end by sparing you the 4 months (yes, i'm a bit slow..) it took for me to realise that those are not Pete and John's shadows on the mononith, it is indeed their piss...

Evans | 5/5 |

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