10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Who's Next (Audio CD)
'Who's Next' may have been compiled from the ashes of one of Pete Townshend's visionary projects, but it comes across like a straightforward album of songs. In my opinion, The Who are better in this mode. They are, after all, a rock band and an incredibly dynamic one at that. Whatever the merits of albums like 'Tommy', you can't beat The Who just getting on with being the hardest rocking band. That isn't to suggest that they play safe here. The most effective innovations tend to be the little touches and on this album they get the balance spot on, displaying imagination without losing the energy or disturbing the flow.
The synthesizer and violin on the classic 'Baba O' Riley' enhance the music, while the synthesizer opening to 'Won't Get Fooled Again' is instantly recognisable. Yet The Who don't overdo it as they do on the 'Who Are You' album, where the synthesizers tend to be intrusive. Though the aforementioned tracks are the stars of 'Who's Next', all of the others are great too. The band's ability to change gear and generate drama mid-song with those emphatic flourishes is testament to the technical brilliance of the musicians involved. You also get a brief opportunity to draw breath with the bewitching, gentle opening of 'Behind Blue Eyes'.
While the musicians are as good as ever, special mention should be made of Roger Daltrey's vocal contribution, which is easily overlooked. Here, his phrasing, timing and choice of delivery is inspired. He seems to know when to growl, yell, pause or just sing to suit each song. Admittedly, Townshend feeds him some great lines. The isolated lines, 'Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss' on 'Won't Get Fooled Again' stay with you, a masterstroke.
On this release, the bonus tracks are unusually impressive too. I particularly like 'Naked Eye'. Perhaps the best recommendation I can give is that I'm not one of The Who's biggest fans but I'd rate this as one of the ten best albums of all time.