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Jethro Tull - Aqualung CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.36 | 2707 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars An excellent milestone in the climb up the progressive mountain (not just for Tull but in music generally). 'Aqualung' is full of delightfully dark lyrical imagery, hard-edged chordy rock, whimsical acoustic dabblings, and plenty of husky impulse flute.

Jethro Tull are new to me but this album is obviously the topic of much discussion; it's hard to miss it. Some say it's a concept album. Some say it's simply an album with concepts. I'd rather take the latter view because it gives it more scope for a better review. If 'Aqualung' was a concept album it wouldn't be a very good one (too inconsistent). Regarded as a normal rock album with some recurring themes, the album is much stronger, and certainly more progressive. What I like is the flow: There are two extended highlights, the famous title track with it's pyramid structure and jagged opening chords. And the overlooked 'My God', with a similar construction allowing for solo-extension in a live setting (it might not be overlooked actually, I don't really know enough about the band to say). These both introduce the two sides of the album, a good start. Then there are a few straighter rock songs with respectable riffs, and a couple of softer pieces which are developed nicely. On top of this, and what really makes the album flow, are the little acoustic interludes that split up the meatier tracks. They aren't incredible compositions but they fit so well, in a way that wouldn't work within the symphonic style of some other prog bands. This means that 'Aqualung' works better as a whole album rather than in terms of individual songs, but at least the filler is only filler in a structural sense; there's no specifically BAD music. I also must mention here that I'm loving the jazz piano that introduces 'Locomotive Breath'. What a nice touch.

I'd like to point out, because I'm surprised no one else has yet, that I find some of the later parts of this album sound a little (don't shoot me) "punk"-esque. Not explicitly and of course more musically, but the bare elements are there in the chordal structures, and I do remember Johnny Rotten of the 'Sex Pistols' stating a Tull influence. Just a thought....

This album is perhaps as overrated as it is misunderstood, but no one can deny it's place in the prog hall of fame because of the great riffs, themes, solos and jams it has to offer. Only a few minor issues from me; the songs aren't as prog as I first thought, Anderson's singing is ametuer, and the flute is a little too omnipresent.

thehallway | 4/5 |


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