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The Who - Quadrophenia CD (album) cover


The Who



4.50 | 548 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars here we are, the apex of The Who's illustrious career. Townshend was no stranger to writing teenage anthems, but he decided to go for broke and pen an entire album devoted to the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Every member of the band is at his peak here: Pete plays with emotion and skill. Moonie mixes his frantic style with a more melodic sensibility. John Entwistle sets his legacy in stone here. And roger displays his range, power, and emotion like never before. Synths had been present ever since Who's Next,. but Pete uses them even more here, giving Quadrophenia a more prggy quality than any other Who album.

The concept of Jimmy Cooper winds through nearly every aspect of teenage life: love, heartbreak, angst, rebellion all flow into one another in the frantic rush of youth. The album opens with some noises, but the proper opener is the killer "The Real Me." This is Entwistle's finest studio performance and one of the greatest bass workouts in music. Moon and Daltrey also give great performances. "5'15" has another great bass performance. "Quadrophenia" and "The Rock" are the two instrumental pieces of the album, and they show just how much Townshend has grown as a guitarist, from a brash Mod who smashed his guitars due to his lack of ability into a musician's musician. Highlights are impossible to pick out, but the most grandiose moment of the album comes with its end. "Love Reign O'er me" is Roger's best perfromance and it stands as one of the greatest vocal performances ever. Pete really knows how to end albums, judging from this, Tommy, and Who's Next.

Ocean imagery is used extensively on the album, particularly in "Sea and Sand" and "Drowned." I always figured this was due to Pete equating the rush of new feelings as the cascading waves of an ocean, massive and unstoppable. Who's Next is Townshend's best lyrical moment, but he comes extremely close to bettering it with the lyrics in this album. This album is as relevant now as it was in 73. No one comes close to replicating Townshend's grasp on adolescence. Not even the punk movement that Townshend laid the foundations for could ever hope to capture the genius of its forefather.

Who's Next is technically the better album, but Quadrophenia is somehow the pinnacle of The Who in terms of music and lyrical awareness. This seeming contradiction is one of the reasons I believe The Who belong here on PA. They never did follow the norms,they were too busy forging new ones.

Grade: A-

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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