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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.02 | 1391 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars 1 2/3 Stars

Rather than the ambitious Tales of Topographic Oceans taking the blame for everything wrong with Progressive Rock and making the public lose interest, I think this should been that album. It is amazing how can a band that releases masterfully crafted classic rock albums like Benefit, Aqualung, and the sophisticated Thick as a Brick can suddently lose the inspiration and release a Thick As a Brick wanna be without the direction, melodies, and charm that made Thick as a Brick so successful. While the folk -> jazz change could have been a good one, I do not like the execution. The only things remaining are the great musicianship and the poetic lyrics from Ian Anderson. Just check on the internet the lyrics and you will be amused at the poetic talents of Ian. Also, the keyboardist here sounds like a hybrid of Charly Garcia and Italian prog keyboardists with his synths while Ian plays great flute and even the sax, the rhythm section is strong, and the guitar player plays a led-zeppelin-style kick ass riff near the ending. Sadly, those two can't help the disaster that this album is.

The story begins and you can hear that the musicians are playing complex arrangements, but are they good? I really can't remember much after it as the melodies are weaker than ones I could compose myself (and I'm not a composer at all!). How can the band compose such unremarkable melodies when they were the complete opposites with songs such as Aqualung and Thick as a Brick pt1? Lack of good melodies are not the only problems with the album as I stated in my first paragraph. I think the biggest problem with the album are lack of ideas and inspiration. Not only are the melodies weak, but the themes and riffs, and even the solos too. Everything in here is so uninteresting that it makes it a dull moment in your life to spin the disc. There are 2 more problems to be addressed:

_ Directionless : The album goes through one theme, doesn't really develop it and goes through another section. While the transitions aren't horrific cut and paste jobs, they still make the album incoherent and directionless.

_ The Hare That Lost its Spectacles : Oh My God!? If you want an example of the bad things about mixing music with humor, this is the first place to look. The story is silly and the humour is pathetic and irritating after a couple of listens. Ian makes a fool of himself with ridiculous vocal tones and the band plays childish theater soundtrack to follow the music. Remember when the band seemed to follow the lyrics brilliantly like in "My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT." when you hear a hammond organ chord when you hear the word "Shout"? Now, you hear Evans do cheesy 'shakes' to create tension I guess, but they are so out of place. Also, the riffs/melodies are some of the cheesiest, most ridiculous things I've heard. Finally, I haven't addressed the final problem with this part: Why is it in here? It doesn't suit the song musically and is really put as a cut and paste job in the middle of the epic just after it was kinda getting good. This song within a song almost makes me put 1 star in the album.

For diehard Fans only. If you are not a fan of Jethro Tull, you'd better stick with the early great albums and their mid-career gem (Songs From The Wood). Do not start the band's discography with this one!!

1. A Passion Play (Part 1) 4.5/10

2. A Passion Play (Part 2) 3/10 - The Hare play: 0/10 - The Rest: 4.5/10.

My Grade: D-

Zitro | 2/5 |


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