Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey put out their first lp as The Who since 2006. I was very impressed with this album, as I typically pick up new music from classic rock staples with trepidation. I love me some dad rock, but I also find most new music from “the greats” to be…un-inspired (except for my forever favorite of course).
On “All This Music Must Fade,” The Who come out swinging with a tune that is undeniably them. The rest of the album continues in a similar vein. WHO has many of the classic characteristics of the band, e.g., vicious acoustic guitar, piano, and soaring chords supporting an even higher-soaring Roger Daltrey (whose voice has aged really well–Pete’s too!).
However, the band is not afraid to draw upon some 21st century production (I see you, “Danny and My Ponies,” and your auto-tuning). There are some pretty strong Train vibes on “Break the News.” It’s fitting that the album is at times a negotiation between the ethos of 70s Who and 21st century pop. Like Pete’s 2019 novel, The Age of Anxiety (see my review here), this album is part meditation on age and part. Where do The Who fit in the scene today? Whatever the answer, they are still chasing their art. From the rocking acoustic-driven vibes of the opening to the cry for peace ballad “Beads on One String” and the latin feel of “She Rocked My World,” WHO is a great listen!