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Jethro Tull - Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die! CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.09 | 768 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars JETHRO TULL had sailed through the 70s as one of the top progressive folk rock bands of the entire scene with one of the most consistent outputs of high quality albums that began with "Benefit" and included the blockbuster top selling "Aqualung" and "Thick As A Brick." Existing as more than a mere rock band, the adventurous leader at the helm, Ian Anderson boldly steered his popular band into increasingly more experimental musical expressions that culminated with "A Passion Play" and "War Child," however the fans weren't quite savvy enough to follow him to the weirder pastures where he set up camp. So doing the wise thing, he retreated back into the band's comfort zone.

"Minstrel In The Gallery" found the band hitting a high note by returning to the classic folk rock sound that made albums like "Aqualung" so popular, but as the 70s churned on, musical tastes were changing and turning more towards the simpler constructs of hard rock, punk and new wave. While many prog bands were calling it quits or simply adapting by adopting a more commercial slickness of their former selves, JETHRO TULL sallied forth by sticking to its guns. For the band's 9th album TOO OLD TO ROCK 'N' ROLL: TOO YOUNG TO DIE! the band continued business as usual with the familiar progressive rock mixed with folk, blues and hard rock.

This album pretty much symbolizes the turning of the tides for JT. First change was that bassist Jeffrey Hammond left the band. Actually he left the music business altogether and stopped playing and devoted his life to his first passion of being a painter. John Glascock who played with various bands such as The Gods, Head Machine and Chicken Shack joined the team who ventured back into Maison Rouge Mobile Studios to record the last of the great JT concept albums.TOO OLD was originally intended to be an ambitious rock musical that would recount the story of an aging rock star named Ray Lomas and all the trials and tribulations of reaching the point where you still have all that rock'n'roll energy flowing but have suddenly fallen out of fashion and rendered yesterday's news.

The grandiose musical plans were scrapped but the theme remained as the concept of this album. While speculation from reviewers of the days was that Anderson was feeling a little expired as the punk and new wave scenes were quickly usurping the prog scene, Anderson has claimed that the album was supposed to represent the cyclical nature of the music industry and that if a band sticks around long enough, its style will become en vogue once again. Well, that may be true but that only works if the quality of the albums remains consistent and that is where TOO OLD falls short and not unnoticed by critics and fans alike. TOO OLD remains the absolute nadir of 70s JT and the only album not reaching the gold status in the US.

To be fair, JT wasn't capable of making a bad album per se, only albums that weren't as awesome as the best they poured out. TOO OLD is chock full of excellent musicianship and catchy tunes much in the same vein as pseudo-prog albums like "Aqualung" delivered. The problem with this album is that for the first time in JT's history, the band follows the trajectory of many self-deprecating album titles and delivers a stale set of performances that reek of "been there, done that." Saved by strong songwriting skills, TOO OLD TO ROCK 'N' ROLL: TOO YOUNG TO DIE! is indeed a decent album with no tracks really bad or offensive, however as many times as i've listened to this one trying to understand its potential secrets, i'm left with the same impressions time and time again. This album is simply forgettable.

Despite the "Aqualung' playbook in action, TOO OLD fails to yield the high quality and catchy melodic flows of yore. While criticized for a convoluted storyline, i personally feel the album suffers more from pure burn out. The band had incessantly cranked out an album every single year with a tour to support them. This album sounds like JT had simply exhausted its creative spin on taking their folk rock sound into new fresh arenas. While most tracks are decent and inoffensive, some such as "Bad-Eyed and Loveless" and "Big Dipper" are rather bad actually. The only song that really leaves me wanting to hear it again is the excellent title track which features without doubt the most catchy riffs on the album with excellent orchestration and is so good that it leaves the rest of the album seem even blander than it would otherwise.

Inconsistent and feeling rather scattered, TOO OLD TO ROCK 'N' ROLL: TOO YOUNG TO DIE! simply comes off as the bottom of the barrel for the great JETHRO TULL especially when compared even to the albums that sandwich it as the following "Songs From The Wood" would find a much needed invigoration of creative juices and forget a bona fide comeback. As already stated, TOO OLD is not a bad album by any means and any lesser band would be glad to have an album of this quality in its unimpressive canon, however for JT this really was the lowest point of its career up to this point. It just seems unfocused, random and scattered. While a few tracks like "Quizz Kid" and "Pied Piper" stand out, even those are fairly forgettable compared to the instantly addictive tunes of the past. Nice try, guys. Thankfully you regained your music mojo on the next album. Of course this is a mandatory album addition for fans but for everyone else, this is the most skippable album of the entire early years of JETHRO TULL.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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