Thursday, May 11, 2006

#1 The Who's Quadrophenia

When your blog is named after a line in one of the songs from this album, you should have been able to figure it out.

Basically, Quadrophenia is the kind of album that changes your life after listening to it. The Who has the power to do so on a lot of their albums, changing there sound from a Mod Pop sound in the mid 60's, psychedelia in the late 60's, to defining classic rock in the 70's. Where Quad triumphs is in its subject matter. The album was written and recorded ten years deep into the Who's career. It's a thank you and a reminicing of the days the Who spent as the God's of the Mod Culture in London. So why does this album speak to me over 30 years later when its about a culture thats dead? Well, the culture isn't dead, per se. It's more that the songs can speak to people of any young culture. Songs like "I Am One" or "I've Had Enough" hits emotional chords with any young person. "The Real Me" is a question we all ask ourselves: "Can you see the real me? Can ya? CAN YA!" We have all had those moments where we questioned our own reality or our personality. We all get angry sometimes and songs like "Helpless Dancer" can sometimes mirror the pissed off emotions we all get about people around us. "Is It In My Head?" and "Sea and Sand" again question the relationships we have with parents, lovers, friends and who is really there for us. The lyrics are personal, but the lyrics don't alienate any listener. Everyone goes through times of questioning ones self and this is where Quadrophenia triumphs.

From a Who fans perspective, this album is the apex of the bands musicianship. Listening to this album shows the sheer firepower the Who has. Between Townshend's guitar tones that range from shrill to soothing, Moon's epic drumming (his career best on all the tracks of this album... listen to the album and focus on his craft... your mind will be blown by how he brings structure to chaos) and Entwistle's bass takes charge. Daltry also gives some of the most bone-crushing, heart-breaking vocal performances of his entire career. Townshend stands and delivers some excellent vocalics especially on "Cut My Hair." It's an overall team effort of all four members that comes together in a single entity to create Quadrophenia.

From an album perspective, you don't get any better than this. It's sheer excellence from start to finish. It's next to impossible to not listen to the album straight through (or at least in halves since you need to make time to listen to the entire double album.) However, unlike Dark Side and Tommy, you can take songs out of context from this concept album. Songs like "The Punk and the Godfather" can stand alone, as well can the single greatest song ever written "Love Reign O'er Me" can be taken away. The thing is, these songs are great alone, but even better in context. That is why an album like Quadrophenia is so excellent.

A message to those who haven't heard Quadrophenia all the way through:
I highly suggest you change your ways and pick it up in any possible format. It really is an excellent acheivment in rock and roll. An album reflecting the early days of the Who's career, but not a throw back. The music is still rock, but about the mods. The songs are beautiful, the lyrics are meaningful and heartfelt and the music is purely rock.

So I leave you all with a few lyrics.

You were under the impression
That when you were walking forward
You'd end up further onward
But things ain't quite that simple.
You got altered information
You were told to not take chances
You missed out on new dances
Now you're losing all your dimples.

My jacket's gonna be cut and slim and checked,
Maybe a touch of seersucker, with an open neck.
I ride a G S scooter with my hair cut neat,
Wear my wartime coat in the wind and sleet.

Love Reign O'er Me.
Love Reign O'er Me.

I've had enough of living
I've had enough of dying
I've had enough of smiling
I've had enough of crying
I've taken all the high roads
I've squandered and I've saved
I've had enough of childhood
I've had enough of graves...

Get a job and fight to keep it,
Strike out to reach a mountain.
Be so nice on the outside
But inside keep ambition
Don't cry because you hunt them
Hurt them first they'll love you
There's a millionaire above you
And you're under his suspicion.

I 've had enough of dancehalls
I've had enough of pills
I've had enough of streetfights
I've seen my share of kills
I'm finished with the fashions
And acting like I'm tough
I'm bored with hate and passion
I've had enough of trying to love.

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