Thursday, November 15, 2012

#117: The Who - My Generation (1965)

It's sad, all I really know about The Who previous to this writing is that Pete Townsend and Keith Moon are in the band and they do windmills. But apart from the big hits I really don't know much about the band. They are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they've sold 100 million records, they've had 27 top 40 singles, and they have been dubbed "the greatest band of all time" by Jack Black. One of those accolades isn't as prestigious as the others.

I Don't Mind
The harmonies are very light and provide great contrast to the very sharp and heavy guitars. There's a great guitar solo, very soulful and it doesn't overstate. The lyrics are very honest and meaningful and the lead vocals provide a perfect amount of vulnerability.

Much to Much
I don't know why I didn't expect to hear this many love songs, maybe it's because I identify The Who as a rock band. I especially enjoyed the drums throughout the album, they're very different, unique, and busy. They add a ton to love songs such as this, it gives it a completely different feel. I'm not sure if I expected to hear 12 'My Generations' but I'm very happy to see such a wide spectrum of tracks. The recordings do sound a bit dated at times due to a lack of depth in the bass and a lack of kick in the kick drum. That being said, it's absolutely wonderful for exactly what it is.

Please, Please, Please
I'm absolutely a sucker for a blues track in the middle of an album. The vocals are phenomenal.  Roger Daltrey sings with such soul in his voice and it's really not a far stretch considering the blues elements in the previous tracks. One thing I can't get over is the drums, while the songs I spotlighted contain the most "tame" drums tracks - Keith Moon provides so much complexity and variation throughout to really pull it all together.

All in all, I'm surprised how much I liked it. It's a very, very solid album. The recording quality is unfortunately dated but skipping ahead, I noticed that their follow up record is sonically much bigger. The musicians in this group are ridiculously talented, they know how to blend, they know how to keep it fresh, and they know what to do and when to do it. There's tracks that they clearly draw from old school rock and roll and while I do enjoy those songs - The Who are at their best when they're rocking out to their signature sound. If this album had just come out, I would be going crazy not over the record itself but over the talent and the potential that The Who possessed. That being said this is their d├ębut album which is - impressive.

Tomorrow's album: Sugar Ray's 14:59.

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