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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play  CD (album) cover

A PASSION PLAY

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 990 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
5 stars It's a Passion to Dislike this album at first listen

After one of the finest and most remembered Prog Rock records in the entire history of Prog, an album similar in concept, two 20+ minutes grandiose songs, followed, however the style was completely different leaving desperate lovers of Thick as a Brick cold and annoyed. I'll be sincere and say I disliked this at first completely, didn't know what it was about, just saw 2 songs, and thought ''Hey, another Thick as a Brick, this is gonna be great'', I was so dissapointed that I gave it to my father who was and still is a real lover of the album, he was very happy I had bought it, so we made a little exchange, I gave A Passion Play to him and he gave me Thick as a Brick, excellent deal, huh? Well I was going to regret that exchange for, like 2 weeks. He played it in the car every time I went with him, at first I felt the same as before, just noise, no sense, too much, PRETENTIOUS! But then after a few more, dedicated listens in the car, I started to think ''gees, what a great instrumental passage'' or ''awesome quirky synths'' or ''wow, that saxophone is superb! Thick as a Brick doesn't have one!'' and so on. Also hearing my dad narrate the parts of The Hare Who Lost It's Spectacles by memory was really shocking, and made me enjoy a bit the story, while I barely listen to it, if someone else puts it, I won't be annoyed, on the contrary I'll be quite delighted remembering my father's humorous way of narrating it. I finally realised it was just a matter of time and DEDICATED listens, that ''noise'' and ''nonesense'' I thought before had just tansformed to ''awesome!'' and kind of the like, like I mentioned before. I asked my dad if we could, well to be honest I didn't ask my dad, I just ''stoled'' it and I put Thick as a Brick again in his collection, obviously he didn't realise since he's a bit too old to remember things like this.

Anyway, anecdote apart, I can say that this album is a true challenge, just like Relayer or Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes are, or Brain Salad Surgery by ELP is. They're definitely the most adventurous album written by each band. These albums truly deserve more respect than they have.

To go a bit further of the style of this album, I'll say it has a much more eclectic style compared to the previous Prog Folk/Symphonic masterpiece. The acoustic guitar doesn't have a lead role anymore. John Evan plays less his superb hammond-organ replaced by the quirky synth which is definitely an acquired taste. There's less of Ian's splendid flute which is replaced by a extremely catchy and enjoyable saxophone played by Ian himself. Martin Barre is still is a backing member supporting some nice guitar ideas, while Jeffrey Hammond is still playing some fantastic bass lines alongside Barriemore's efficient drumming. There are parts which are so quirky or complex that remind me of Gentle Giant.

Overall, A Passion Play for me is tied up with Thick as a Brick in the #1 spot of Tull's best albums, despite both being extremely different. One being highly melodic and playful with a lot of focus on the flow of the composition, while the other one being by far more eclectic and yet the compositions are done brilliantly.

Certainly an album that all Prog fans and Tull fans should check once in their life-time, give it time and dedication if you really want to appreciate it. Of course, you may have done that and find no positive results, but it's worth the try. Gentle Giant fans may find this a very rewarding piece as well. A masterpiece.

The Quiet One | 5/5 |

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