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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play  CD (album) cover

A PASSION PLAY

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 1012 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Into the ever Passion Play

Jethro Tull's A Passion Play has to be one of the most controversial albums ever to hit the market. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but simply in seeing that it comes right next in line after the Godly Thick As A Brick makes one know that expectations are going to be high, and any slight disappointment it going to be magnified infinite times by the fans, as unfortunate as that is.

It's not surprising to see the reaction that this album gets from many critics. This is indeed, Tull's most bizarre album. Anyone venturing into its territories is going to need a sense of humor and an ear for the extreme end of things. Lyrically it follows Thick As A Brick with its satirical views on everything in the world, but while Thick. expressed that through lofty and poetic stanzas, Passion Play tends to play more to the eyebrow raising one-liners. ''Here's your ID/ideal for identifying/one and all''. ''And your little sister's immaculate virginity wastes away on the boney shoulders of a young horse named George''!

Of course, the music can be expected to be just as strange, and it is. Where previous albums helped define the prog-folk subgenre, this one tends to use more lofty and strange synthesizers, at times relying on them entirely to complete a given section of music with one recurring obscure synth riff. This is not a bad thing however, since the flute is not hidden away entirely and still gets played here and there, not to mention that the pressing synths are actually a welcome change to the music.

This is all, of course, with the ability of full 20/20 hindsight. It's very clear to see where disappointment would have come from after a seemingly serious album such as the previous two. The middle segment of the track that kicks off Part 2 is the ever controversial The Tale Of The Hare Who Last His Spectacles. A strange bed-time tale from the band which has been dissected with semantics hundreds of times over but in the end is likely just a strange spoken-word middle section to break up the monotony for the band while playing a live show of the album. Enjoyable, if confusing the first time you hear it, this section of the song is best taken without a serious tone in mind.

Really, what we have here is an excellent album from an excellent band. Stating that the album is misunderstood would be a redundant and vague overstatement, but really, it can be. Not for the faint of heart, this one is still easily recommended to prog fans everywhere and people who fancy themselves Tull heads. Just consider yourself warned. now sit back and enjoy, because this album has a lot of spine tingling moments that can't be missed. 4 stars! Not quite a masterpiece, but close.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |

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