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The Who - Face Dances CD (album) cover


The Who



2.49 | 118 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
2 stars 'Face Dances' - The Who (4/10)

The most critically panned of The Who albums, 'Face Dances' shows the band recoiling after the tragic death of their drummer Keith Moon. Killed by his own vices and demons, Moon left a large void in the band, even though it was mostly the guitarist Pete Townshend that wrote the music. Replacing him with Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones, the band kept going, but there was the sense that alot of the magic in the band was gone, and I'm sure this wasn't just because of the drummer's death. 'Face Dances' shows The Who skirting away from their rock sound in the favour for pop. As so many of the progressively inclined '70s bands did as the '80s rolled around, The Who simplified their sound in order to keep up with the music industry, but in the case of this band, the transition was quite rough, and the result is a fairly forgettable and disappointing album that does little for the imagination.

Pete Townshend was getting into his solo career, and The Who's music was suffering as a result. Leaving the best material for his solo and throwing the other things for the band, The Who was not a band that had all too much passion invested in it anymore, apparently. The performances here are still The Who that many people have fallen in love with, but the songwriting does tend to indicate otherwise; a fairly poppish, melodic, yet not necessarily memorable collection of songs. The heaviness of their earlier stuff is gone in the stead of keyboards and lighter guitar tones. Like the album after this, 'It's Hard', this album features a couple of tracks that provide something of a respite from the mediocre songwriting, but it is generally not enough to warrant an exploration of the album. In general, these songs get fairly boring after a couple of listens, and that isn't even enough time for these songs to really strike a chord with the listener.

The most memorable song here is 'You Better You Bet', with which the band had a minor radio hit with. It is very happy sounding and features very laid back guitars; a sure sign that The Who had dropped alot of the rock. 'Another Tricky Day' is a pretty cool song; featuring some interesting lyrics that have probably stirred the hearts of a few modern day indie rock bands. Besides that, what we have here is a band who are playing simple songs well enough, but the fire that made the band stick out in the first place is not really here. 'Face Dances' is not really a bad album, as it is fairly pleasant to listen to in the background, but there is very little here to draw you back for repeated listens.

Conor Fynes | 2/5 |


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