4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Too many words, Pete, too many words...,
This review is from: Who Are You (Audio CD)
This album - the last proper Who album when the Daltrey / Townshend / Entwistle / Moon quartet were intact, is at times a difficult listen. To me, the rot set in with 'Quadrophrenia', where Townshend started to over-write, lyrically, to get his point across. What suffers then are the song melodies, when they struggle to be truly memorable (with a few exceptions) because of the over-wordiness of the lyrics. Also, Townshend was trying to apply the same kind of intensity using synthesizers as he had previously applied with guitars. Nowt wrong with synths, of course, but gimme the sheer rock power of ol' Pete with a Les Paul and a bank of Hiwatt amps, and a big fat E major chord every time.
In saying that, 'Who Are You' is far from lacking in great moments - the title track is one of their finest, and all concerned give their customary max to the cause. It's well-documented that Townshend was suffering terrible problems then with drink and drugs, and was questioning the validity of The Who in the wake of Punk Rock. Trouble is, he doesn't seem to come up with that many answers, and making a record as a kind of 'therapy' does not always yield listenable results. Townshend seemed like he was abdicating his throne as rock spokesman (not a role he would have willingly opted for anyway (who would?)), but still wanted a fight!
'Who Are You' is an album to be approached with a modicum of caution, therefore, but is worth time and trouble. It's not, however, up there with 'The Who Sell Out' or 'Who's Next', though.