To say The Who are one of the greatest rock bands in the history of rock music is not at all an understatement. The Who are without a doubt one of the most influential and important bands of their time. With the exception of a handful of other bands, including The Beatles of course, very few have released the breadth and range of music that The Who managed.
While I have discussed them before, with their masterpiece Tommy, there is so much more to discover with this band and it seems that every ounce of their talent went into the subject of today’s blog entry. This is Quadrophenia and it may be the greatest album the Who ever produced.
Why This Album?
As I mentioned in my article about Tommy, I became a fan of The Who practically at birth. In the late seventies, when I made my first appearance, The Who had made a return like no other, or honestly never really went away. Growing up from that point I would find their music to be a joy to listen to but I didn’t really explore the breadth of their catalog until later in life.
It was sometime in the late 80’s or the early 90’s when I stumbled upon Quadrophenia. Having already devoured Tommy to the point I could recite nearly every line, I was amazed by the depth this other rock opera held. From the opening track hinting at things to come to the inclusion of what would become some of their most prolific hits, this was a beyond a masterpiece, this would be the swansong for any lesser band.
Telling the story of an adolescent going through a difficult life in the early 70’s, this album was a departure from the almost mystic qualities of Tommy or even their efforts on other albums up until this point. Seemingly introspective at points, the story deals with drug use, clashing with parents and even the idea of suicide. It is a intense and powerful album that leaves it’s ending up to the listeners to determine on their own.
While this album is certainly meant to be listened to in one sitting, each song stands apart as well never relying on the others only enhanced by their presence. One interesting moment that made me realize how interconnected each song was is the opening to track four on the first disc Cut My Hair. Opening with the phrase ‘Why Should I Care’ sung in the same intonation of the second discs opening track 5:15. This moment gives the song 5:15 all the more punch when it comes around. The use of repeated phrases and musical riffs are used in subtle ways throughout the album creating a tapestry that you only fully appreciate when you take it all in as a whole.
To this day, Quadrophenia remains one that I return to every so often finding it to be such an Amazing Journey of sound and mental imagery. It is a true master work and one that everyone should listen to at least once in their lives.
This is SO HARD. Literally every track provides such an immense amount of pleasure upon listening to it. If I Had to choose, These would be the three I would want you to hear to get an idea of just how good this album is. Just know, it gets so much better.
Is It In My Head? That question that you ask yourself all the time when you feel sick, when you are hit with anxiety, when you just wonder about your future…or the future of the country you live in. This track nails it.
The Real Me. Almost complementary to Is It In My Head, this song deals with someone going to a doctor to figure themselves out. It’s intense and so very true.
Sea and Sand. This one just talks about how life is like the sea and sand, always shifting always changing no matter how much you want it to remain constant. It never will and you have to float with it or be swept away by the tide.
Ok, Where do I get it?
This is one that you can still get pretty easily. You can pick it up here for around $20 and for a double album that is a pretty solid deal. Otherwise you should check out the deluxe edition on Spotify. It has the album and a ton of demo tracks that really enhance the album as a whole. Regardless, give it a go. You’ll thank me later.
Late to the Game 6/30/2020
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
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