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WHO ARE YOU

The Who

Proto-Prog


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The Who Who Are You album cover
3.24 | 136 ratings | 13 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. New Song (4:14)
2. Had Enough (4:27)
3. 905 (4:02)
4. Sister Disco (4:23)
5. Music Must Change (4:39)
6. Trick Of The Light (4:45)
7. Guitar And Pen (5:56)
8. Love Is Coming Down (4:04)
9. Who Are You (6:16)

Total Time 42:51

Bonus tracks on 1996 remaster:
10. No Road Romance (5:10)
11. Empty Glass (demo version) (6:23)
12. Guitar And Pen (Olympic '78 remix) (5:58)
13. Love Is Coming Down (Work in Progress mix) (4:06)
14. Who Are You (lost verse mix) (6:18)

Lyrics

Search THE WHO Who Are You lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search THE WHO Who Are You tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Daltrey / vocals
- Pete Townshend / guitar, piano, synthesizer, vocals
- John Entwistle / bass guitar, synthesizer, vocals, horns
- Keith Moon / drums, percussion
- Andy Fairweather-Low (guest) / backing vocals
- Rod Argent (guest) / synthesizer, piano
- Ted Astley (guest) / string arrangements

Releases information

Remastered by Polydor in 1996 with 5 bonus tracks

Thanks to nuncjusz for the addition
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Who Are YouWho Are You
Extra tracks · Remastered
Mca 1996
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Who Are You [Vinyl]Who Are You [Vinyl]
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THE WHO Who Are You ratings distribution


3.24
(136 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(34%)
34%
Good, but non-essential (47%)
47%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

THE WHO Who Are You reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In many ways WHO ARE YOU is a continuation of the experiments with symphonic rock that had started on QUADROPHENIA. The main differences are threefold: (1) By the time of WHO ARE YOU, Keith Moon's drumming had lost most of its original power; (2) Pete Towshend's heavy guitar sound is less prominent than in the past (he still does lots of experiments with synths); and (3) John Entwistle now contributes one of his least distinguished compositions: "905".

Perhaps the most striking development is Roger Daltrey's growth as lead singer. Love him or loathe him (detractors complain Daltrey "tried to turn barking into art"), the old geezer who could barely hold a tune in the mid-1960s had by 1978 become a highly expressive vocalist. Who else could have sung "Music Must Change", Townshend's superb bluesy ode to changing Rock, with such energy and conviction? Yet another of Daltrey's star performances is "Guitar and Pen", which has been criticised in some quarters for being too close to Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas. Well, I've always found "Guitar and Pen" an exciting development for the band: Townshend's guitar arrangements are first-rate, and in many ways this is a truly progressive track which expands the vocabulary of orthodox rock 'n' roll.

Many of the songs on WHO ARE YOU (the blistering opening number, "New Song", for example) are concerned with the value of writing the same familiar music again and again. By the late seventies Towsnhend must have felt threatened by British punk - even though the Who were still huge in the USA. His questioning title track also suggests he was suffering from a (tragically early) midlife crisis. In spite of these factors, and in spite of Moon's sad decline, tracks like the sardonic "Sister Disco" (with its flashy synth arpeggios) show that the Who had lost none of their capacity to surprise and delight - at least not yet.

Summing up, you could say that WHO ARE YOU aspires to the grandeur of QUADROPHENIA but only reaches those heights from time to time. I haven't heard ENDLESS WIRE, and (unlike most Who fans) I have a sneaking regard for IT'S HARD, but I wouldn't be surprised if WHO ARE YOU really was the Who's last (near-) great studio album.

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Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#130067) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The year 1978 was musically , in my opinion, a time when Disco Music was at the peak of popularity. I hated the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack which was played endlessly on the Radio stations in my country. Everything was the Disco Fad. There were TV shows in my city which were doing competitions with people dancing and dressed "a la Travolta". Even my friends from the Seconday School were impacted by that Fad. But I can`t remember if Punk Rock was popular here. It was in this musical ambient were this "Who Are You" album was released. It was recorded between late 1977 and mid 1978, and I found it in the record shops in late 1978, after Keith Moon`s death (which happened in September 1978). Musically there were not many alternatives to listen for people like me (I was 13 years old then) who grew listening to the great "old" bands like The Who, YES, Focus, etc. So, every release of these kind of "old" bands was a "musical refuge" against the Disco Fad, which I consider as the worst time for International popular music (which some exceptions in bands like KC and the Sunshine Band).

This album is very good, despite the fact that Keith Moon`s drums playing had deteriorated with the passing of time due to his problems with alcohol. The band was having a hard time with him, and finally they talked with him: he had to improve his playing and drink less alcohol, or he was fired. Moon elected to find help for his substance abuse problems and his playing finally improved. Unfortunately, his desire to cut his substance abuse problems led him to a overdose of a medication to help him stop his drinking, and he died. He was planning to marry again, and his life was also improving in general too, but unfortunately the accident happened.

It has been said that the band felt like "Musical Dinosaurs" in 1978. So Townshend reflects these thoughts in the songs in this album.

The songs:

"New song": with similar content in the lyrics to the song called "The Song Remains the Same" from Led Zeppelin, it has very good keyboards and drums. It is one of the best from this album.

"Had Enough": composed by Entwistle, it has very good vocals b Daltrey (whose voice has changed with the pasing of time) and a string arrangement. Entwistle also played horns on this track.

"905": also composed by Entwistle, with futuristic lyrics and a very good synthesiser played by himself. He also sang lead vocals.

"Sister Disco": an attack to Disco Music. I agreed with this song in 1978! Good synthesiser by Townshend.

"Music Must Change": another reflection about the music in 1977-78. It has been said that Moon couldn`t play the jazzy rhythm of the song very well, so the song has not drums, apart from some crash cymbals. Entwistle also added horns on this track.

"Trick of the Light": composed by Entwistle, his best song on the album, this is an almost "heavy-metal" song which includes several bass guitars sounding like "heavy-metal" guitars, Very good drums by Moon and vocals by Daltrey. The lyrics are funny because they relate a sexual encounter with a prostitute!

"Guitar and Pen":a song about songwriting, with some funny lyrics too. Very good keyboards by Townshend and drums by Moon. One of my favourites from this album.

"Love is Coming Down": a "dramatic ballad" about the search of love. Very good drums by Moon and vocals by Daltrey. Again, one of my favourites from this album. It also has string arrangements. It has been said that many Fans of The Who didn`t like this song.

"Who Are You": a heavy song with very good drums by Moon, it also has lyrics which reflect about the musical ambient of the late seventies It also relates a night of drinking of Townshend with two members of the "Sex Pistols" band. Daltrey sang very well too.

Why The Who felt like "Dinosaurs"? The Punk Fad was mostly a marketing experiment which musically didn`t survive or made important ontributions to music, in my opinion (with some exceptions with bands like The Clash). Like the Disco Fad, it was a bad period for the International popular music, in my opinion.

In conclusion, I think that this album is one of the best from The Who. Keith Moon`s playing wasn`t the same in some ways as it was years before, but it was still very good, and more in comparison to later line-ups of the band. He was later replaced with Kenney Jones, former drummer of the Small Faces and The Faces. I consider Jones as a very good drummer, but his style didn`t fit very well with The Who. I think that The Who really should have split after Moon`s death. Townshend also said that in interviews done years later.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#130068) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After the relatively weak "Who By Numbers" could The Who survive a bit in 1978 ?

Again, this album has no real anthem (only the title track will have a long live life). None of the songs are especially bad, but do not expect anything like what they produced in their past grandeur. There will be several attempt to re-create the "Quadraphenia" atmosphere with songs like "Had Enough", "Sister Disco" (for the arrangements and mood) but none will equal the brilliant master copy.

"Music Must Change" has lots (too much) orchestration. One of my favorite song (and the rockiest one here) is "Trick Of The Light". And the pleasure is still extended with the next song which is one of the very few (the only one ?) to really match The Who standards : great rhythm, very strong vocals and delicate piano to add a special flavour to this song. It is also one of the most sophisticated of the album. It definitely raise the level of this album. "Guitar & Pen" is also one of the highlights.

"Love Is Coming Down" sounds a bit pompous to my ears and the title track is of course one of the best songs available, but I prefer it while being played live. It rocks alright and it is maybe the only number during which Keith holds the sticks effectively. During all the other numbers, he is far to equal his previous performances (even on "By Numbers" he was great).

The remastered version holds two unreleased song : "No Road Romance" which sounds very "Beatles-esque" and "Empty Glass" which is a weird song : very strange atmosphere, somewhat decadent. It is still unpolished in this version and actually it is not at all of interest. There will be several remixes as well of which a good version of "Guitar & Pen". "Love Is Coming Down" is even more syrupous here and the "lost verse mix" for "Who Are You" should have remained lost, if you see what I mean.

One word about the era (1978), just to mention that The Who had nothing to fear from the British punk scene. They were actually praised by a lot of punk bands. It started in 76 with Eddie & The Hot Rods who covered "The Kids Are Alright" on their first album. The Clash carbon copied the riff from "I Can't Explain" in their song "Clash City Rocker" and only refer to "No Elvis, Beatles or The Rolling Stones" in their song "1984".

The Sex Pistols also covered a Who song in their early live appearences ("Substitute"), Patti Smith (a rebel rocker, punk by attitude but not by her music) and The Ramones (both from the US) were also very elogious about The Who. The former covering "My Generation" while the latter even invited Townsend on their album "Acid Eaters" for an hilarous cover of "Substitute" in 1993.

So, only lots of respect from the Punk scene (even if Generation X will record the punk anthem "Your generation" referring of course to "My Generation" with their famous phrase "Your generation don't mean a thing to me".

This is no surprise actually, because by their behaviour The Who were kind of wild boys who could only be considered with enthusiam by the new scene (The Stranglers had almost the same crazy reputation than The who for "relifting" the hotel rooms in which they spent some time).

The danger for The Who, lied somewhere else. IMO, the power of songwritting which was sliding down after "Quadrophenia" and which will never pick up again (although their last album "Endless Wire" is an interesting come back, but that's another story).

"Who Are You" is somewhat "middle of the road". It won't hurt anybody but there are too scarce great moments as well. Like for the pre-Tommy and post-Quadrophenia albums, I would make the same recommendation : grab a good "best of" like "Who's Better Who's Best" or "The Ultimate Collection" (a double CD) not even talking about the anthology "30 Years of Maximum R&B" (a quad CD) to get the essence of The Who. But bear in mind that "Tommy", 3Who's Next" and "Qadrophenia" are masterpieces of rock music and that "Live At Leeds" is a phenomenal live album.

Three stars for this one, because only two would be too harsh.

It is also the last album featuring Keith Moon, a great rock drummer. RIP Keith, I miss you.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#130314) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A three year vacation in the career of a band can be an eternity, especially when the members are still in the prime of their lives. After releasing the too-often-overlooked gem that is "The Who by Numbers" in 1975, the four members of the group spent more time apart than ever before and the lack of unity and camaraderie is evident in the recordings for "Who Are You." While Roger Daltrey was the poster boy for curly hair, health and fitness; frequent imbibers Pete Townshend and John Entwistle were still on very intimate terms with the bottle. But neither of them was floundering in the graveyard ditch that Keith Moon had dug for himself and even the threat of being fired by his concerned mates only temporarily curbed his all-consuming addictions. More than anything else, it is Keith's impaired drumming that is the albatross around the neck of this album and prevents it from soaring. And that's a rotten shame.

The poignant lyrics on the previous LP reflected the sober introspections that my generation (who grew up with The Who) were probing ourselves with in the mid-70s as the fact that we were no longer innocent flower children was finally starting to sink in. On this album the words vent the frustration stemming from the realization that most of that well-intentioned self-analysis went for naught and, if anything, our neuroses were more abundant and crippling than ever. For better or for worse, however, they accurately reflected our collective state of mind and if you notice that there's no question mark at the end of the album's moniker it's not an oversight. The Who were, indeed, us.

Much like they did on "The Who by Numbers," the group often encases their sarcasm behind cheerful, upbeat auras and the opener, "New Song," serves as a great example. The bright, crisp intro is inviting but it doesn't take more than a couple of measures to discover that Moon's fills are devoid of the fiery enthusiasm that characterized his famous take-no-prisoners approach. Funk had become a mainstay in music by then and John effortlessly incorporates that style into his bass playing but that only exacerbates the problem arising from the drum kit. Keith was struggling to keep a straight beat, much less play like Billy Cobham. Yet the tune is far from unlistenable. On the contrary, the synthesizer work Pete does on the expansive bridge section is very cool and Roger delivers Townshend's caustic lyrics about being in a creative rut in fine voice. "My head is spinning as I scrawl with my pen/'cause I've been pouring Vodka in my soul/nothing really changes, my friend/new lamps for old, new lamps for old.," he snarls.

Entwistle's compositions have always been hit and miss but "Had Enough" is one of his better efforts and the tasteful contributions of Rod Argent on keyboards doesn't hurt, either. Ted Astley's string arrangement gives the song great depth and John draws heavily on several trademark Who-isms throughout. As if playing the devil's advocate to Pete's frequent "peace and love" forays into the realm of spiritual enlightenment, Entwistle (in this case speaking through Daltrey's golden throat) spews out pure bile with lines like "I've had enough of being nice/I've had enough of right and wrong/I've had enough of trying to love my brother." and "Life is for the living/takers never giving/fooling no one but ourselves/good is dying." So much for positive thinking, you might say, but there was quite a bit of that bitter cynicism circulating in that age and John was just expressing what many of us were repressing. The next cut, "905," is yet another from The Ox and I love the sprightly, pulsating synthesizer pattern and the thin, Farfisa-ish organ tone that he incorporates on the interludes. It's a fairly straightforward sci-fi ditty about a bleak future in which humans have been reduced to being no more than imagination-starved automatons conceived in test tubes. "Everything I know is what I need to know/and everything I do's been done before/every sentence in my head, someone else has said/at each end of my life is an open door." he intones.

Up to this point there hasn't been a lot of prog to absorb but the excellent "Sister Disco," (despite its scary title) changes that trend. It incorporates a unique but distinctive synthesized string effect that reportedly took Pete many long hours to program, some energetic bass lines from John and a dynamic bridge section that steers the number in a totally unexpected and somewhat operatic direction. Townshend's words don't endorse that inane, monotonous phenomenon that forever stained the 70s at all. Rather, he celebrates its inevitable death. "Goodbye, Sister Disco/my dancin's left you behind/goodbye, now you're solo/black plastic, deaf, dumb and blind." and later Roger reiterates that spiteful farewell, adding "I go where the music fits my soul/and I will never let go..." Pete tacks on a short but delightful acoustic guitar movement as if he's dancing on disco's lifeless grave.

The progressive "Music Must Change" follows and Keith's inability to lay down a usable drum track for it may have been a blessing in disguise because the absence of his usual rumblings allows the tune's intricacies to be appreciated. Don't be misled by the smoky blues/jazz atmosphere they start with because the song is highly involved and guides you through a plethora of emotions. Daltrey is simply amazing on this cut as he goes from one extreme to the other, reminding us that music will constantly evolve whether we want it to or not. "But the high has to rise from the low/like volcanoes explode through the snow/the mosquito's sting brings a dream/but the poisons derange/the music must change." he testifies. What doesn't always change, though, is Entwistle's rock & roll writing style and "Trick of the Light" holds no surprises as it lopes along. It's about a fellow so insecure that he feels compelled to solicit praise for his lovemaking skills from a professional lady of the night. "Was I alright?/did I take you to the height of ecstasy?..." he asks. In the end the hooker only "shakes her head and sighs." Bummer.

The best tune by far is the stately "Guitar and Pen." Pete delves into rock opera territory once again to create this ode to songwriting and the creative process and I can't say enough about his delicate guitar work and the vocal gymnastics that Roger handles with ease. In addition Rod Argent turns in a stellar piano solo and I adore the grandeur and necessary pomp of the sophisticated arrangement. It's ideal for lyrics like these: "When you take up a pencil and sharpen it up/when you're kicking the fence and still nothing will budge/when the words are immobile until you sit down/never feel they're worth keeping, they're not easily found/then you know in some strange, unexplainable way/you must really have something jumping, thumping/fighting, hiding away, but important to say." "Love is Coming Down" is next and the group incorporates another big dose of Astley's lush strings to give this power ballad a broad, dramatic backdrop. Here Pete laments his inability to alter his destructive behavior as he watches himself "going down" in the grasp of his demons over and over, wasting every chance he gets to put his life in order. "I hope I don't sound as immature as I feel," Daltrey sings, "but when I get wise I'll give you a call, my friend." Sadly, the number could have been so much more if not for Moon's distracting dearth of concentration.

The album's closer and namesake is so familiar to most everyone on the planet that it's easy to overlook just what a landmark of prog rock it really is. The brutally honest, self-criticizing words and the way the synthesizer compliments all the various instruments and elements that populate this 6:16 epic is genius. (It's not surprising to find that Rod Argent had a hand in this one, too.) While Townshend opens wide his tortured soul and reveals the degrading details of his fall to rock bottom, he also invites anyone without sin to cast the first stone with a defiant "who the f**k are you?" while marveling incredulously at our blind idolization of him. "I spit out like a sewer hole/yet I still receive your kiss/how can I measure up to anyone now/after such a love as this?..." The words to this tune have haunted me since the day I first heard them and they still pack a punch. They encapsulate the mood of the late 70s perfectly. What a magnificent song.

The bonus tracks on the reissued CD contain a rather proggy, all-Pete demo called "No Road Romance" that is definitely worth checking out but the rough version of "Empty Glass" is difficult to sit through. The alternate takes of "Guitar and Pen," "Love is Coming Down" and "Who Are You" will only appeal to true Who aficionados and collectors.

Tragically, Keith Moon died of an overdose within a month of this album's release and the band was never the same. I'm very glad we have a whole catalogue of terrific songs in which his unique talents will live on forever. I don't doubt that Moon did the best he could on "Who Are You" but the truth of the matter is that he detracted from its impact rather than enhanced it. It's still a bold collection of tunes but not nearly as consistent as the five studio albums that preceded it. A worthy addition to any proto- prog library but not impressive enough to consider essential. 3.2 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#202005) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 07, 2009

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars Some three years after the lacklustre By Numbers album, The Who comes back from a lengthy holiday with a seemingly strong album. Three years is a long time for a group to rest, and most likely too long for some members who were living dangerously. Moon was obviously the one that didn't take such a long holiday well and his health was declining, although we had no way this album (and the surge of activities in 78) would be his swan song. Townshend himself was not doing that much better regarding substance abuse, while Daltrey and Entwistle had kept busier with solo album. It was with great relief that the press and public received the album and the two tracks that were obvious belters convinced many that this was a real return to form. Upon closer inspection though, it appeared that the better tracks (the most exciting ones) were written quite a while ago (some as far as Lifehouse in 71) and the newer ones didn't hold the distance as easily. No trace of Hopkins n this album but he's well-replaced by the fantastic Rod Argent on various keyboards, while Astley's string arrangements have a Quadrophenia taste.

Right from the first second of the opening New Song, you know the group is back in form, with the usual breaks and energetic surges of power coming from their collective guts. The following thought-provoking Had Enough (Entwistle-penned) doesn't have the same freshness (despite strings in the background) but holds the pace well enough until the excellent mid-tempo 905 (also Entwistle) where Townshend is toying with electronic noises up in the forefront. While I'm not really a fan of Sister Disco, there is no discussion it became another Who classic, but I find that the synths are killing an otherwise fine song. We're not even halfway through the album and already the lacklustre Numbers is erased from memory.

The first (and not the only) weaker track is Trick Of The Light, an Entwistle-penned track, a noisy affair that should've lasted half its duration. However, I must say that the following Guitar And Pen is a complete miss with me, and Moon is busy burying it in cymbal crashes, although I'll agree that the closing section, they attempt an almost-impressive Yes movement that is maybe a little too much for Keith. But then again you have a superb Music Must Change, where Keith's almost non-intervention (besides a few hi-hat jiggers and a few hits on skin) is pure bliss and a true sign of genius (despite some reviewers claiming he was incapable to play it). Love Is Coming Down benefits from Astey's sweet string arrangements, but could easily be a filler as well. Of course this album wouldn't be complete without the fantastic closing title track, which seems to revisit the opening track and 905, and incorporating some excellent interplay from everyone, including Moon's last divine intervention in drumming. In either case, it's the perfect closer to a good album, just like New Song was the perfect song to open it, and the soundscapes from both tracks provide a sort of book-ending.

A more recent reissue where MCA added a bunch useless bonus tracks (some completely un-related), and remastered it helped the album re-gaining dynamics lost in its first Cd re-issue, but unfortunately it also enhances the fact that Moon was only the shadow of his former self, even if he still manages some excellent moves. While Who Are You is certainly a better album than the previous, and later Moon The Loon's untimely death; retrospectively it's now clear that this album is the first step towards The Who's slow death that would last another two albums. It looks like only one f the four did prefer to die before fading away, the other three choosing to age as gracefully as they could. Should have this album been their swansong, like Zep's In Through The Outdoor, we'd probably look at this one more fondly, but it's no use rewriting history: The Who missed its exit but this album has got its share of gems

BTW, this is the album that introduced me to The Who along with Who's Next (bought a few weeks before the release of this one), so most likely in my subconscious, I'm giving an extra half star because of memories.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#235308) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The Who do 90125...

This was the final album to feature Keith Moon on the drums as he sadly passed away within weeks of its release.

The Good: The awesome title track.

The Bad: There's no point in comparing this to Who's Next or Quadrophenia as it shows a very different musical approach from the band. Whilst I won't deny its certainly poppier than their previous work it is also much more progressive than a lot of people give it credit for. But the big question is does it work? Almost. The problem is that whilst none of the songs are particularly bad they just aren't that memorable either. I've listened to this album many times as I do enjoy it, but the only thing I could tell you with any certainty is there's a hypnotic synth mash-up on Sister Disco, and that your listening experience would not be in any way hindered if you were to simply skip to the final track.

The Verdict: The end of an era.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#440957) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Who Are You' - The Who (5/10)

Although 'The Who By Numbers' was still something of a disappointment when compared to the epic achievement that had come before it (I speak, of course, of 'Quadrophenia'), it was still an album that I was able to develop some sort of personal connection with. The songs there were still fairly strtipped down and conventional, but the sincerity was there; the album largely give the feeling that Pete Townshend was spilling his heart to me, and that was a feeling that really made the album a good experience for me. As the seventies wore on though, The Who were not doing well at all; Keith Moon was soon on his way to falling victim to his vices, and the other members were feeling the strain of it. 'Who Are You' is the last album with the band all together (Keith Moon would die not long after this was released) and even though this was still four greatly talented musicians at work, it is clear from this album that the band were on their way out. Besides a fairly well-known title track that has met some revived interest in the band after being featured in the opening credits of a well-known television show, there is not much on the album that really stands out. 'Who Are You' stands as being the first of the bland albums by this band.

The songs here follow much the same fomrula as did the songs on 'By Numbers', albeit without the same deeply personal subject matter. One thing to the credit of 'Who Are You' however is the addition of new symphonic arrangements to their song. 'Quadrophenia' dabbled in this a bit, and while the orchestral aspects of that album were highly effective, it never felt like The Who truly grasped the symphonic aspect to their music. 'Who Are You' shows The Who taking the sound of string sections with greater confidence, and on such songs as 'Love Is Coming Down' (also possibly the highlight of this record), the string arrangements really add alot to the sound. Unfortunately, the subject matter (often one of my favourite things about what The Who does) and lyrical themes don't really speak much to me. They are certainly pertinent, but are much less personal, instead dealing with societal issues and problems, such as the cancerous onset of disco music.

The song here that most people will know best is the title track 'Who Are You', which features a very catchy hook, and a very gritty sound during the verses that gives a very urban feeling to the music. The song eventually develops from a typical rock song into a more atmospheric piano-heavy break that harkens back to the time when the band still had some great ambitions going for them. As a whole though, 'Who Are You' really is not that great of an album; even with 'By Numbers', I found myself somewhat disappointed by the band letting go of the epic musical ambitions. Needless to say, there are still some good songs here, as well as two tracks that stand out- being the final two. 'Who Are You' will likely satiate the needs of someone looking for fairly decent classic rock, but it is still somewhat underwhelming.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#477546) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Supposedly, Who Are You was Pete Townshend's stab at fusing art rock and punk. It didn't really work; the opening track, New Song, is symptomatic of this, consisting of a proggy bit here, a punk-lite bit there, the two flavours never really merging to form a cohesive new sound. It might be a ballsy move to kick off an album with a song about rehashing "the same old song with two new lines", but it's also embarrassing if it turns out you're actually doing that - and not hitting the standards of the old song in question either.

The best track on the album is probably Who Are You, which is most famous these days for being the soundtrack for a cop show. It really does sound like cop show soundtrack material too. If you want hard-edged art rock with raw punkish energy lurking under the surface from The Who, you'll find it on Quadrophenia, not here.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#558020) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 27, 2011

Latest members reviews

3 stars The Music Must Change! Most music had changed by 1978. And fittingly the songs on "Who Are You" are linked together thematically, all about the changing nature of music. I can't say there are really any bad songs on here. The highest quality songs are mostly on the first half. The catchy "New ... (read more)

Report this review (#756409) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars For me, this is a hard release to review. While there are some definate awesome tunes here: "Who Are You", "Had Enough", "905", and "Sister Disco", come to mind, the rest has never perked my interest. Kinda a mix of prog/pop/punk/rock, mostly. Some hit, some miss. I have the bonus disc and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#628343) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, February 07, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Who Are You" was Who's release for 1978, three weeks before the great Keith Moon sadly passed away. This album leaves me always with mixed feelings, since the songwriting is pretty complex, with hints of prog, "Music must change" for instance, while containing some weaker moments like "Guitar and ... (read more)

Report this review (#284203) | Posted by Malve87 | Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Built on the remains of what was planned to be another attempt at realising the Lifehouse project, Who Are You is an interesting album (which, as I will point out, is not necesssarily a good thing). "New Song", the album's opener, is a standard Who rock tune which gets a bit repetitive after ... (read more)

Report this review (#258771) | Posted by Ludjak | Friday, January 01, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is IMO the third best Who album. I would say that only Who's Next and Quadrophenia are the only better ones. New Song, Sister Disco, Music Must Change, Guitar and Pen, and Who Are You are the best songs on this album. This album has the best Who sound in it. It is very much like Who's Next. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#146433) | Posted by TheMadCap | Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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