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Quadrophenia Original recording remastered
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An excellent and frequently astonishing album, Quadrophenia is both more ambitious and less accessible than Tommy, the first and most well known rock opera. At its simplest level, Quadrophenia is a coming-of-age story with an awesome soundtrack. The album features some of the Who's finest material, in songs like the enraged "Real Me", the cynical "Punk Meets the Godfather", the wistful "5:15" and "Sea and Sand", and the powerful "Love, Reign O'er Me". The songwriting (courtesy of Pete Townshend) is top-notch, as is the production (the Who actually managed to use synthesizers in an original manner, something few rock bands can aspire to). The mix of powerful songwriting and skilful composition makes this one of the Who's finest moments. --Genevieve Williams
By 1973 Pete Townshend was courting disaster, fighting demons both interior and exterior. In 1971 the writer and guitarist had dealt with the blow of his second full rock opera, Lifehouse, being sunk by a falling out with friend and manager, Kit Lambert. An intense work schedule, combined with an inability to turn his ideas into reality (plus a hefty drink intake), drove him to a breakdown. Added to this was the constant battling between certain fellow band members. So in retrospect it looks like nothing short of a miracle that he not only salvaged the Lifehouse prime cuts to make the mighty Who's Next album, but that he then went on to channel all that sturm und drang into his greatest work: Quadrophenia.
Drawing on his experiences as a young mod-about-town as well as the spiritual quest that had lead him to the feet of his guru, Meher Baba, Townshend created the tale of Jimmy The Mod. A dispossessed youth whose psychological problems were rooted in home life, teenage relationship angst and plain old peer pressure; the anti-hero goes on a metaphorical journey from urban London to the rainswept beaches of Brighton in search of meaning. The concept was also shoe-horned into the group dynamic by using each member of the band as a signifier for the four personalities that inhabit Jimmy's double schizophrenia, with a recurring theme to match.
While the concept may be unwieldy, as a musical statement it's fabulous. The band could rock harder and looser than most others by this point. Moon's drums, always on the verge of chaos, drive the hit, 5'15 like a wild beast through the very heart of the double album. Entwistle's bass bubbles and restlessly explores all the empty corners of the arrangements while his french horn injects the 'is it me for a moment?' theme seamlessly. And Daltry's voice, having proven its maturity on Who's Next was here allowed to roar as Townshend could now write songs to fit his range. The closing, triumphant Love Reign O'er Me or the opening The Real Me remain amongst his finest moments. Meanwhile Pete's guitar work is at its most expressive and his use of early synths withstands the usual cheese-factor that blights so much music from this period.
Band egos, inflated by the dual pitfalls of fame and indulgence, led to the recording being fraught. There were reported fisticuffs between Pete and Roger. And any assuaging of the writer's inner turmoil was nixed by a gruelling tour (which saw Moon collapse mid-gig on one occasion) and pushed him even further into chemical overload. Yet, as Townshend now admits, and as all Who fans know, everything great about the Who is contained herein. --Chris Jones
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Top Customer Reviews
If i had one wish....i would wish for every boy/girl band to be strapped to chairs in a large room and have this CD on repeat play at 20000 watts until the penny dropped with each and every one of them that what they do might bring in the bucks, but its all meaningless drivel.
Having this on a minidisc player whilst cruising to the coast in the summer on board a shiny vespa makes everything fall into place.
I absolutely adore each and every track, and each time i listen to this recording, i fall in love with them all again.
It's simply the best thing ever recorded. nuff said.
There are no bonus tracks like other albums have, which is a bit of a disappointment, and maybe it could have been made into a single CD as 'Tommy' was. However, these are minor quibbles and don't at all distract from the fact that this is one of their best.
It's probably the only Who album that consists entirely of Pete Townsend songs, and unusually there is a Keith Moon vocal on 'Bell Boy'. Keith was notoriously bad at pitching, and was the only band member to be excluded from vocals most of the time. His performance as The Face's bell boy alter ego is perfect though.
Pete Townsend uses repeating musical themes in the same way that he did in Tommy, but this time there is more subtlety, and his composing skills have come a long way from then. There are some great songs, including the single '5:15', and other well-known numbers like 'The Real Me' and 'Love Reign O'er Me'.
From 'A Quick One' through to this album, the Who produced their best material. After this it was downhill, but they really did excel themselves with this album!
However, I am a big fan of 'Quadrophenia', believing that it belongs in every serious collection of Rock music and I've always enjoyed its scope, visionary quality, audacity and - as I'm a big reader (and published literary critic) - its story, which for me is an iconic piece of 'youth culture' fiction. Also, as an example of that much-maligned form, the concept album, it's a blinder.
This will not be a detailed audiophile comparison style review, as I don't feel I know the album as well as serious Who fans will. I've played it a fair bit over the years, but it's not in my top 20 albums as it were. However, I'll state unequivocally now that I believe that this BRA (Blu Ray Audio) should be regarded as the reference version of the album.
The Pure Audio series of BRAs have come in for a fair amount of stick - a lot of it deserved - from Hi Def enthusiasts, as they have so often promised so much, but delivered little. Common complaints have been lack of surround mixes (quite right in most cases), minimal menu screening and immediate programme start before you can even select which audio option you prefer to hear and so on. Plus, it's virtually impossible to find BRAs in high street shops. So far in this series, I've purchased the first VU album (stereo only, but excellent), the sole Sex Pistols album (not bad) and Deep Purple's 'Made In Japan' (nice, but no 5.1 mix!!!).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superb 5.1 mix. Adds to the drama and angst of Of The who's most important and memorable releases. Buy with confidencePublished 6 days ago by midnight1uk
My favourite classic Who release.
Brilliant writing by Pete Townsend, perfectly sung by Roger Daltrey. Read more