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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play  CD (album) cover

A PASSION PLAY

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 972 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars This might be the proggiest album Tull ever made, but that in and of itself does not make it a great album. Any serious prog fan realizes that some of the best and worst music ever made is in the realm of prog. A Passion Play is Thick As A Brick's ugly little brother. All the pretty girls at school want to date Thick As A Brick, but since TAAB is taken, they will settle for APP. This album, like it's predecessor, went to #1 on the Billboard charts. It should come as no surprise that this was also the last #1 album Tull would have on the Billboard charts.

TAAB was a joke that became a masterpiece; APP was intended to be a masterpiece but ended up being a joke. On paper, I should love this. For the first time, Tull is using synthesizers. It's much darker than TAAB. In addition to flute, there is also saxophone. But ultimately, the results do not add up to a great or memorable album. One of the things that sticks out the most is that the guitar takes a backseat here. This works for other groups, but not Tull. Basically, Anderson & co. are just being experimental for the sake of being experimental. If TAAB hadn't been such a massive success, I highly doubt they would have made an album like this. All the people who made this a #1 album were expecting TAAB part 2; what they got instead was an album as directionless and self-indulgent as Tales Fom Topographic Oceans.

The first minute of this album is probably Tull at their most spacey and avant. The first half is not as interesting as the second half. I've always liked the line: "the only way to skin the cat". Generally, I like the synth work here. Sometimes the sax sounds like another synth. Little bit of marimba on this album too. "The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" is not quite as bad as some make it out to be. It's still nothing essential to the album overall. The last 15 minutes is the best part of the whole album. Check out the Steve Howe-like guitar playing in the final 5 minutes. The last 20 seconds are some of the best moments on the album; I wish that part didn't fade out.

This is typically seen as one of those love-it-or-hate-it albums. I generally neither love nor hate those kind of albums. You could take the best 20 minutes here and make a really good epic out of it. When it comes to JT I only really like Aqualung, TAAB and MInstrel. Don't care for this album too much but it's still a lot better than the majority of their post-70s albums. 3 stars.

zravkapt | 3/5 |

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