Quadrophenia – The Who

I have no idea what the story of this album is, at all, but I love the music of this album so much. “Love Reign O’er Me” is an incredible 3/4 jam that deserves all of its foreshadowing and is too profound to be explained; if you have never heard it, I beg you to listen. “The Punk and the Godfather” is a standout for combining hard riffing with whimsical melody lines and holding onto incredible harmony throughout, as well as for its cool bassline; “5:15” also has that kind of cool riffing but brings in a bombastic horn part and gets harder and raunchier with the chords, and “The Real Me” is a happy medium between the two. This album is still demonstrably The Who, with its major vocal harmonies and use of acoustic guitar to create a rhythmic counterpoint to the electric guitar, especially on “I’m One” and “I’ve Had Enough”. I would favorably compare use of horns on this album to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the piano parts mix really well with the rest of the music in interesting ways. The guitar on this album is incredible; you’ve got your juicy syncopated chords, sure, but you’ve also got bouncy pentatonic lead guitar riffing that takes center stage on tracks like “Sea and Sand” and falls beautifully into the mix all over the album, including on “Quadrophenia”. To catalogue all the motifs which are constantly recontextualized over the course of this album would be difficult, but you’ve got the tonic chord being played three times fast with emphasis (like at the beginning of “Drowned”), which always adds a really cool gravity to a fun danceable track, and a specific type of well-executed key change, which The Who could teach a course on. I can’t describe everything I like about this album because I don’t fully understand the orchestral and electronic arrangements that serve to bolster the juicy, complex chords of each of these songs, but I’m so into it. This album is really all over the place, and it never, ever stops being fun. (It’s also cool that the Super Deluxe edition contains the entire first draft of the album, so that we can sort of see the compositional process behind it.)

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