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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play  CD (album) cover

A PASSION PLAY

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 999 ratings

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Tapfret
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Its not art if its not hated by some

Am I right? All of the great artists through history had works that were hated by contempararies and in many cases considered offensive. While usually not as extreme, similar views have been expressed regarding JT's 'A Passion Play'. What is puzzling is that 'Thick as a Brick' is used as a lithmus test for the album and is praised and stroked like the pretty golden child while 'A Passion Play' is the ugly step-child kept chained in the closet. My opinion is the opposite of most in that TAAB is an off target first attempt at a concept album and APP meets the mark in a more adventurous progressive manner. And certainly the most unfair comparisons to Yes' metaphysical monstrosity 'Tales from Topographic Oceans'. Neither of the 2 JT works even come close to floundering with the audacity of TFTO.

The album starts with a bouncy main theme with a circusy feel to it that morphs into a classic Ian Anderson accoustic guitar vocal movement. The main theme returns with a more sinister feel, alternating through the accoustic piece. The music flows into a jazzy feel with multiple winds, not the least of which is Anderson's ethereal flute. Throughout the albums first side the main theme is hinted with increasing sinister modulations. The 'skin the cat' portion, as I like to call it, is the heaviest and most sinister porion of the side. The side closes with the part of the album that makes the most people stomp around angrily, 'The Hare who Lost his Spactacles'. I love the intermission.

My feeling on 'The Hare who Lost his Spactacles': regurgitated from one of my forum posts: I love the story. I think its an outstanding metaphor for what was going on socially in the western world at the time. The anthropomorphic representations of establishment: Hare - The youthful idealist who has lost his spectacles and therefore his vision. Bee - The laborer: Is ready to help, but not the best thinker. Kangaroo - The leader, mother: Hare is far to big, and independant for mother's help. Owl - The wise, the forefather, the man: Has the wisdom of the ages, but conventional wisdom is old and tired...and falls asleep. I'm still a little puzzled on what newt represents. In the end the lost spectacles were his own affair (mind your own business!) and hare indeed has a spare pair, or his own vision for the future. Maybe it means nothing, but I doubt it. Its presented like a fairy tale. And nearly all fairy tales have a moral.

The second side starts with anoter classic Ian Anderson accoustic guitar and vocal part with very dark textures. Most of the second side holds a more consistent theme of its own with occasional recalls to the side one theme. What stands out on the second side is Andersons use of saxaphones which provide a very distinctive sound to the album.

I have read interviews with Anderson regarding this album. It is certainly not one of his favorites. There was even talk that the music from APP was to be part of 'War Child', including 'Bungle in the Jungle' (I'll consider that a bullet dodged). Thank you Mr. Anderson for letting this fine work stand on its own.

4.95 stars

Tapfret | 5/5 |

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