I was 18 the last time a WHO cd came out. In fact, the last time a who recording came out it was purchased in vinyl format! 24 years is a long time to wait for something and not be a little let down by expectations. After a few listens, I have not been letdown.
This is not "Who's Next" type who music. Yes, there are hints of the classic sound of The WHO ( Its not enough, Mike Post Theme), this is a much more understated affair. Only 2 of the original lineup is left , Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. For 2 men in their 60's, they show a surprising amount of energy and yes, vitality.
The first 9 tracks of this CD are original Townshend songs. The last 10 comprise a Mini Opera called Wire and Glass. On first listen, this Cd seemed to be a unorganized mess. The "mini opera" really does not hold together in any real linear narrative . The "story" is about 3 young kids from different social and religious backgrounds that form a band......the story gets more convoluted from there. But as in a lot of Who songs....its the music that saves the day...and the lyrics are subject to interpretation. Highlights from the opera are
Sound round- full of energy...are these guys really 60? cant wait to hear this in concert
Mirror Door- great song about departed rockstars.....even better music....
We got a hit- pure pop...pure WHO
Of the 9 other tracks.....Easily my favorite is
Its Not Enough- This has been getting some radio play and really is the strongest song of the set. Great snarling guitar ( man, I have missed a great Pete Townshend snarling for a long time!) and angry vocal from Roger. The lyric is all about trying to please a woman and never feeling like "its enough". Like my favorite Who songs...its a song about release, self doubt and self knowledge. Great stuff.
Black Widows Eyes- This is a weird and yet beautiful song. Its about love at first sight with a woman in a train station. Eyes meet from across the station and its love. Only problem is......the woman is a terrorist, who blows up people at the station. Yes,,,, its not a song Sinatra or Celine would pull off, but a compelling listen!
This is a strong CD. My hope is that they at least take this as a great beginning for a couple of other recording projects. These guys are still on top of their game..and it would be shame to stop now.
7 out of 10 stars.
Click on the link to hear song samples