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Who, The
Who's Next

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Label: Decca/MCA/Universal Released: 3/1/1971

I went to the fabulous Xpress towers the other day to pick up some CD’s to review and was a little disappointed to find that nothing really turned my crank. What I ended up with was one old punk band, one band that sounds like Bruce Springsteen with a drum machine and the other like David Wilcox going Instead of letting myself get down and quitting the crazy world of CD reviewing I decided to reach back into my own rock and roll past and write something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a few years now. It goes like this...

No, The Who have not reissued their seminal 1971 album, again. There are no new remastered versions of the Muppets singing Behind Blue Eyes to coincide with their latest Broadway rocktacular, “Lifehouse On Ice - The Unfinished Masterpiece”. No, it’s just that I have a problem with this and many other Who albums and that is John Entwistle. Before I go on, I’ll just say that I have more than a passing acquaintance with this band. I am not just some old mod who used to walk around the Rideau Centre on hot summer days in my parka with a Quadrophenia patch on the back. For most of my teenage years I listened to nothing but The Who. I bought every album, poster, biography, bootleg and reunion tour ticket I could get my hands on. I was a freakish Who fanatic saved only by an accidental brush with the Pixies around 1988. Now I can look back on the band from a more objective perspective.

I can admit that almost everything Pete Townshend wrote after All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes in 1982 is a load of shit only slightly more palatable than the complete and utter crap recorded and written by his fellow bandmates in the name of “solo careers”. Lets face it, with the possible exception of Keith Moon the rest of the band were nothing without Pete Townshend (pre 1980’s) and could have been replaced by almost any greasy haired rocker.

And so this brings me back to my problem... why the fuck did they let John Entwistle contribute songs to any of The Who’s records and, most importantly for this “review”, why put that stupid, piece of crap song My Wife on an otherwise perfect rock album?

Who’s Next was arguably Pete Townshend’s finest musical achievement and we know from the infinite outtake and reissue albums that many of his songs from this time were left off the final release to shorten it from a double to a single. Yet, they make space for an idiotic novelty song that has nothing to do with the rest of the record.

Yes, yes, yes all you Who geeks, John Entwistle did some fine bass noodling on Quadrophenia, Who Are You and Tommy but that does not excuse his innate ability to ruin the mood of many otherwise great Who albums with go-nowhere clunkers like My Wife. Someone should have had the balls to tell him to save it for his own solo projects.

Oh ya, and the suits, what’s with those suits?

Mike Lawson Email WWW


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