Monday, December 16, 2019
I have been living with the new Who record for almost two weeks now. During this time, I have had a number of discussions with both fans of the band and those who claim to be fans of the band. Some fans, like myself, are loving the new music, excited by the fact that fifty years on, any music of substance and quality exists at all. One friend called "WHO" a "real grower." Another expressed it this way, "I am grateful any time an artist that means something to me makes a late-period good album."
It wasn't all cuddly.
One comment from another "fan" of the band stated that "no one needs to be listening to new Who music." (What does that even mean?) Another dismissed the new music with the old standby, "The band hasn't made a good record since Who's Next."
I mentioned all of this to yet another friend, someone who is indeed a true blue fan and a person who I've respected for a very long time. His thoughts: "I'd call myself a fan, but I don't embrace all their music. Those others making those comments are not fans. They are cynics."
I don't embrace all of The Who's music. As much as I don't like "Face Dances" and "It's Hard," I have been listening to music long enough to know, it wasn't Kenney Jones' fault that Pete wrote some shitty songs and Bill Szymczyk made "Face Dances" sound like "One Of These Nights." Even those two lousy records have at least three or four solid songs, which is approximately two more than most records these days.
Let me offer this breakdown that I've come to believe from years of experience that includes a quick estimate of 65,000 hours of retail time--
Anyone claiming to be a fan of The Who who dismisses "The Who By Numbers" as garbage either hasn't listened to the record or is not a fan of the band.
Many claim that "Tommy" is overrated.
A good number think that "A Quick One" is a weak follow-up to the maximum R&B that was "My Generation."
Far too many "just don't get" "The Who Sell Out."
"Quadrophenia" is bloated.
Everything with Kenney Jones sucks.
So what we have here are people claiming to be fans of The Who who really are only fans of "Who's Next." And I guarantee, there are a few pain in the ass contrarians poised and ready to call "Who's Next" crap, as well, while they try to be extra special by citing "Live At Leeds" as "the only Who record worth listening to."
I can take this sideways and discuss The Who and their record breaking amount of farewell tours. This seems to piss off the same people who think we don't "need to be listening to new Who music," and maybe, even some real fans.
"Fuck The Who and their corporate greed! It's not the Who without The Ox and Moon!"
I get it. I've attended a dozen farewells and comebacks since 1989. Some were fair. But many were wonderful, including this recent "Moving On" tour. Yet, some of these people have no issue with the Rolling Stones, a band that "hasn't made a good record since Some Girls," who have released more mediocre records in just the last 30 years than The Who have released in their career, and who charge a face value of almost $500 to hear the same ten songs but justify it because of the occasional bones thrown, like "She's A Rainbow" or, thank heavens, "Saint Of Me."
But I digress.
"WHO" is a fantastic collection of songs, with terrific singing and playing. That it was created by two men who have created better music, earlier in their careers, should not be a factor in your decision. That The Who still want to play live music and play it well, should not be a bad thing, not when Todd Rundgren, Jason Scheff, Mickey Dolenz, Joey Molland, Christopher Cross and E.G. Marshall as "The Mayor" are touring "The White Album."
Posted by Sal Nunziato at 5:04 AM