The Who’s “Tommy” is Deafeningly Loud

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Hey everyone! So, I finally got around to listening to Tommy’ in it’s entirety, and very glad I did! I was a bit intimidated by it’s length (almost an hour and a half), kind of putting it off for a while, finally got around to it, and well, here’s my review!

‘Tommy’ is a rock album by english band The Who, originally released to general critical and popular acclaim in 1969. It was one of the first rock operas, or a rock album with a more-or-less coherent (if rather…interesting) plot. The lyrics and music were written primarily by The Who’s guitarist, Pete Townshend, with two songs penned by the bassist, John Entwistle, lead vocals by Roger Daltrey, an and a tremendous clatter-sorry, drumming-from Keith Moon.

This album is generally quite well regarded, and it’s easy to see why. The music and the plot work very nicely together, and the lyrics are fairly clear, though it might be helpful to look at the booklet that’s included with the record. I think the bass is turned down a little quieter than it is on the rest of Who’s stuff-on ‘Quadrophenia’ it’s almost as loud as the guitar-but otherwise very good. The drumming is amazing. Really from about ‘68 to ‘73 seems to have been Moon’s peak as a musician, before the drugs start to affect his playing too much, but after he’s got some experience and chemistry with his bandmates. Townshend really seems to spend most of this album just reinforcing my impression of him as a) a very good guitarist, but especially one of the best rhythm guitarists out there and b) a genius songwriter, definitely on the same level as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, or Brian Wilson. Just…yeah. Wow. Er, my incredible admiration for Pete Townshend aside…Daltrey has really grown as a vocalist between this album and their last, and that “see me, feel me…” bit that recurs a few times throughout the album is beautiful. Really my only complaint is that is sometimes a bit too hard to follow the trippy plot about a blind kid playing pinball. Still, the fact that they recorded an entire album about a blind kid playing pinball, an album that a quick glance at my phone tells me is a full hour and sixteen minutes long, and made it work, well, that’s quite something.

I would absolutely recommend this album to anyone I know. Even if you don’t really dig that much rock music, or music that’s quite this old, just give it a shot. The most well known song off it is the lead-off hit single, “Pinball Wizard” and it’s a fairly good song to get an idea of The Who at this period in their career.

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