5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Art - A true Masterpiece, 13 Sep 2013
Critics age, become irrelevant, eventually die and then are long forgotten. Genius, masterpieces and works of art live on, gain importance and ultimately become appreciated by increasingly wide audiences.
Why do I make that point? it is to underline just how insignificant the so called "critical bashing" this piece of art was subject to back in 1973. It must of hurt Ian Anderson and the rest of the band at the time, but time passes and as I say great art only increases in stature.
This is great art, and perhaps one of the most important pieces of modern classical music of all time. No doubt Jethro Tull fans will continue to debate and argue as to what is their own personal favourite (by general consensus that is Thick as a Brick) but A Passion Play stands above anything else as it works on so many different levels.
The music is flawless (get the newer digital remastering), Anderson's Voice is at is best, Barlow's and Hammond's rhythm's are at one and Barre and Evans work side by side to produce cutting riffs that are punctuated by melodic sections that will haunt you long after you have finished listening. Indeed that will be your draw to repeated listens when you will discover new ideas and possibilities.
The concept (if we can call it that) is generally regarded as a tale of the afterlife and a mans' journey through hell. The lyrics are poetic and the prose used underpin the pure genius of this album and whilst on the most obvious level Anderson has woven a tale of death and reincarnation (although he's never really fully explained his idea's preferring to leave that to the listener) there are undertones and other levels that hint at themes contained within Dante's "Devine Comedy" and this undoubtably rewards repeated listening.
The finished article was formed out of aborted recording sessions at the Chateau d"Herouville (now available on the CD Nightcap - The Unreleased Masters 1973-1991
) and this suggests the animal themes that may well of developed into the "Hare who lost his spectacles" which in turn provides the light interlude to the dramatic "Play" and is gem in the overall experience.
Interestingly this followed "Thick as a Brick" in 1973 and with the hugely successful tour of TAAB 1 and the great "Thick as a Brick 2" in 2013 we are told that next year see the release of another concept album that will be "heavier and less dominated by acoustics" could we be waiting for a "Play 2" with both Play 1 and 2 taken back on the road.
That would be something.