I confess that I don't own the deluxe edition of this CD - I can't justify buying it as I already have it on CD and on a vinyl copy bought when the album was released. This is a fine set of songs, consistently surprising in its switches between delicacy and muscularity, tenderness and bitterness, anger and wit. Rather confusingly, the songs on Empty Glass are more engaging than those on Who Are You or Face Dances, the two Who albums that come before and after it. Perhaps this is down to the heavy personal touch: there is a clear sense with this solo album that, for the first time, Townsend is writing for himself and about himself. There are hints at confused sexuality in And I Moved, I Am an Animal and Rough Boys - the last song a strange paeon to punk, sounding both older brotherly and lustful. Let My Love Open the Door is a very snappy little pop song and Just A Little Is Enough, with its swathes of synths and big drums, a scary and uplifting love song.
Then there is the reference to Keith Moon's death in Jools and Jim, a character assasination attempt on a couple of music journalists. Kenny Jones plays the drums for part of this album, as he does on Face Dances. Otherwise, the instruments are played by Townsend along with some seventies stalwarts. There is not a great deal of his guitar, all in all, just as there was little of it on the Who albums that lead up to this album. But there is a drummer-led thrashiness in places that is recognisably Who.
It is odd how soundly Townsend entered the 80s with this album, only to fade away quickly when the 80s got into their stride. If you like the Who and have never heard this, you will be very pleasantly surprised.