Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time - Rated 28/500! Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time - "Baba O'Riley" - Rated 349/500!
At the beginning of the '70s, the impact of Tommy weighed heavily on Pete Townshend's shoulders. How on earth would he and the Who top such a successful and important album? The guitarist-songwriter felt he had to take his music and its conceptual strains one step further. He began writing a futuristic fable that would transcend itself beyond the usual conventions of modern music. Intended to be a film, a play, a concert, a mega multimedia and cerebral experience - Townshend called his new project Lifehouse. And although Lifehouse would stay frozen on the blocks for another 30 years, its seeds sprouted the Who's most cohesive and consistent effort, Who's Next.
How Townshend's ambitious follow-up ended up as Who's Next isn't easy to discern. After several false starts and a break with Who manager/mentor, Kit Lambert, the record was eventually rescued and shaped by producer/engineer, Glyn Johns. Much of Townshend's vision was contained within his extensive demos -bits and pieces of a loosely constructed storyline set against experimental melodies and basic backbeats. The album's opening track, "Baba O'Riley," was originally an elongated cycle of synthesizer loops. What it became was an anthem, highlighted by a tumultuous build, Dave Arbus' rambling violin and Roger Daltrey's acclamation of a "Teenage Wasteland." The thunder is sustained by the contagious "Bargain" - now, like so much of the Who's music, a commercial jingle. "Love Ain't For Keeping" chugs away against a fierce acoustic rhythm while John Entwistle's sole contribution of "My Wife" remains one of his most electrifying songs. "This Song Is Over" features Nicky Hopkins' incomparable piano work and ends with a chorus pulled from "Pure And Easy," the central number of Lifehouse that failed to make the final cut, but would resurface three years later on the Odds And Sods compilation. The theme is maintained on "Getting In Tune," reintroduced during the Who's most recent tour, and "Going Mobile," a track with Townshend on lead vocals that recounts a couple of Lifehouse's characters cruising the streets in a Cadillac.
"For all the sorrow and heartbreak that runs beneath the surface, this is an invigorating record, not just because Keith Moon runs rampant or because Roger Daltrey has never sung better or because John Entwistle spins out manic basslines that are as captivating as his "My Wife" is funny. This is invigorating because it has all of that, plus Townshend laying his soul bare in ways that are funny, painful, and utterly life-affirming. That is what the Who was about, not the rock operas, and that's why Who's Next is truer than Tommy or the abandoned Lifehouse. Those were art -- this, even with its pretensions, is rock & roll." -Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com
Features: • Limited Edition Blue Vinyl • Made in Czech Republic
Selections: Side One: 1. Baba O'Riley 2. Bargain 3. Love Ain't For Keeping 4. My Wife 5. Song Is Over
Side Two: 1. Getting In Tune 2. Going Mobile 3. Behind Blue Eyes 4. Won't Get Fooled Again