Friday, June 12, 2009

Rock of Ages: The Who - "Love Reign O'er Me" (1973)

To boast a song is the greatest rock song ever written is obviously a bold statement but it's one everyone has to do at some point. You can't not go through life without having a song that defines everything great in music. For me, it comes from my personal favorite band The Who and lies as the closer of the album Quadrophenia. When it comes to raw energy and emotion in a song, "Love Reign O'er Me" is rocks finest anthem of angst and pain and woe. Every last bit of this song, from Roger Daltry's vocal performance to the musical elements is dripping with emotion and beautiful honesty. Pete Townshend is one of rocks greatest and most underrated songwriters. Lyrically the song can be taken off of the concept album and work just as fine as a stand alone track. Musically, this is The Who at their best. John Entwistle's bass playing is stoic and strong, yet complex. Keith Moon packs in as much sound and fury into the five and a half minutes as possible. His drumming is strong and exubrant as ever, but never takes you away from the rest of the track. Pete Townshend builds a pulsating synth line drizzled with guitar soloing that is less about showmanship and more about the honesty behind the track itself.

Quadrophenia is an amazing album and each song has elements of "Love Reign O'er Me." It's The Who at the pinnacle of their serious rocking. After this record, The Who lost some steam, although weres till able to churn out powerful rockers like "Who Are You" and "Dreaming From The Waist" that are filled with just as much sounda nd fury as this. The Who is easily the best rock band that has a definitive studio sound and a brilliant live act. Seeing this song live even years after it's release is still amazing. The Who consistently rocked my life with Tommy and Quadrophenia being the cream of the crop. They are a rock band who can be fun or be serious. And when they are either of those spectrums of their catalog, they infuse the music with so much rocking that it really can't be denied.

Up Next: Pink Floyd's opus to moments lost

1 comment:

Nathan said...

1) If you are not listening to Future of the Left, you need to get on board, pronto.

2) This was my favorite thing you've written in some time. clap clap clap clap clap clap clap.