(Actual Rating- 4.5 Stars)
The Who By Numbers(1975). The Who's Eighth Album.
After the Massive Success of 'Who's Next' and 'Quadrophenia', The Who, instead of composing a Rock Opera or a Concept Album, decided to just Rock it out, and for that reason, some of
Townshend's most personal songwriting comes out to play. Pete Townshend chronicles his problems with alcohol ("However Much I Booze"), women ("Dreaming from the Waist" and "They Are All in Love"), and life in general. 'The Who By Numbers' was obviously a team effort, with Townshend's personal songwriting and guitar flair, Keith Moon's magnificent drumming, Roger Daltrey's sneering vocals, and John Enthwhistle's smooth basslines(The song "Success Story" is his shining moment here), The Who was ready to rock, and they succeeded well with 'The Who By Numbers'. Over time 'The Who By Numbers' has become a huge hit, going Platinum and spawning the major hit "Squeeze Box" and the minor hit "Slip Kid", showing it's legacy is still intact. So how does 'The Who By Numbers' measure up? Is it a dark moment in the Who's career, or a good one? Read on to find out!
Slip Kid- "Slip Kid" starts off 'The Who By Numbers' perfectly, as immediately Townshend's innocent keyboarding and Moon's drumming come on, and Daltrey's sarcastic vocals poke and
prod throughout behind Townshend's piercing guitar. "Slip Kid" is Classic Rock at its best.
However Much I Booze- "However Much I Booze" is Townshend's song, as his cheery vocals and acoustic guitar playing take center-stage. It's odd "However Much I Booze" is played so
happily, as the subject matter is so dark. Nevertheless "However Much I Booze" is an energetic acoustic rocker that won't fail to please.
Squeeze Box- "Squeeze Box" displays Townshend's sultry acoustic riff behind Daltrey's vocals that sound as if they are joking. "Squeeze Box" despite its short lenghth, is one of the Who's most classic songs, with a chorus and vocals to die for.
Dreaming From The Waist- "Dreaming From The Waist" mixes Enthwhistle and Townshend's bluesy beat, Keith Moon's perfectly on-the-mark drumming, and Daltrey's oddly angry vocals to
create an excellent bluesy rocker. Good guitarmanship and chorus!
Imagine A Man- "Imagine A Man" finds the Who doing a ballad, putting the main focus on Daltrey's oddly symphonic and soothing vocals behind a placid acoustic guitar beat, picking up
slightly for the chorus. A tad too slow, but not a terrible track. A pretty good track.
Success Story- "Success Story" finds Enthwhistle's oddly "Country Western" bassline complementing Daltrey's snivelling vocals, making "Success Story" a short but sweet gem.
They Are All In Love- "They Are All In Love" is a keyboard driven ballad, mixing heartbroken vocals courtesy Daltrey and soulful keyboarding. Great musicianship here makes "They Are All In Love" a great ballad. Contains Daltrey's famous "farting" noise!
Blue, Red, and Grey- "Blue, Red, and Grey" is a folk-inspired ballad, mixing Townshend's folk guitar with Daltrey's soulful vocals. "Blue, Red and Grey" is a folk ballad, and it comes out a little slow for me. Nonetheless excellent vocals from Daltrey.
How Many Friends- "How Many Friends" is a keyboard driven rocker, using Daltrey's betrayed vocals(Quite literally, this song's about being betrayed) to make "How Many Friends" a
memorable hard rocker that contains a great chorus!
In A Hand Or A Face- "In A Hand Or A Face" screams out the speaker with Townshend's piercing electric riff, but soon Daltrey's sneering vocals take center-stage behind the delicate
keyboarding. A great end to the album, "In A Face Or A Hand" is Classic Hard Rock at its best, using all of The Who to create an excellent song. Addictive chorus and guitar work!
The 1996 Remaster of 'The Who By Numbers' contains three Extra Tracks, which are Live versions of "Squeeze Box", "Behind Blue Eyes", and "Dreaming From The Waist". The Who have always been revered as a magnificent Live act, as 'Live At Leeds' will show, and these tracks are just icing on the cake, as they are magnificent versions that rival the studio cuts.
Overall, 'The Who By Numbers', while not being The Who's best, is nothing short of great, being only slightly blemished by "Imagine A Man" and "Blue, Red, And Grey", two ballads that drag on forever without much substance. After 'The Who By Numbers', The Who would record "Who Are You", before drummer Keith Moon tragically died, making 'The Who By Numbers' one of The Who's last and most professional albums.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR FANS OF CLASSIC ROCK AND THE WHO! OFTEN
OVERLOOKED IN THE WHO'S CATALOGUE, 'THE WHO BY NUMBERS' RIGHTFULLY BELONGS IN ANY CLASSIC ROCK OR WHO FAN'S COLLECTION!
Who's Next- The Who
Tommy- The Who
Who Are You?- The Who
Thanks For Reading!