October 29, 2020

1981-04-04 – The Montana Standard

1981 04 04 The_Montana_Standard_Sat__Apr_4__1981_

lO-Ihe Montana Standard Time Out, Saturday, April 4, 1981

The Who ages before your eyes

By GEORGE KANZLER
Newhonse News Service

NEW YORK — When
The Who first emerged on
the British rock scene 16
years ago, they were a cult
band with a large,
identifiable following of
particularly uniformed
youth: Mods. They were
also an outrageous stage
act all raw energy and
violence, all succinctly
apotheosized by flying
drumsticks, a vocal
microphone swung like a
long-chained medieval
mace, and, the ultimate:
Pete Townshend
.. destroying his guitar on
stage as climax

The Who has come a long"

way since time early days.
having, in a very public and
musical sense, matured
and aged right before their
. audience. While once they
sang of “My Generation,”
they now seem caught in
the existential present
confronting the
inevitability of aging and
death.

IN THE WHO'S new
album. “Face Dances"
(Warner Brothers
Records). seven of thenine
songs are by Pete
Townshend and most of
those are in the
interrogatory or
imperative mood. John
Entwhistle contributes the
other . two, and they are
both in a careening heavy
metal rock mode.

Ironically, Entwhistle’s
mostslamabang rave-upis

Music

called "The Quiet One,” a
slightly neurotic
monologue sung from a far
corner “by Roger Daltry
that includes many
homilies and cliches about
words vs. deeds but ends
with “It only takes two
words to blow you away.”

Entwhistle's other song,
"You,” is one of those
desperate pleas to a
woman borne out of sexual
frustration and full of
romantic angst and
hysteria.

TOWNSHEND’S opening
two compositions are also

‘inthat romantic rock love-

song genre, the first, “You
Better You Bet,” a

reckless and rather tawdry

-— in that ‘grimy British
realism style
celebration of lust and “all
night living.” .

“Don’t Let Go the Coat,”
the second, has an almost
mellow, cocktail jazzy beat
and seems to be a
confession of conjugal love

in an insecure world.
The other

five

Townshend songs, although -

displaying a wide and often
brilliant musical . range,
are also single-mindedly
obsessed with problems of
spiritual and emotional
poverty, often expressed' in
terms of physical and

financial poverty. The
richness of the music

juxtaposed on this
obsessive theme is an _
ironic pa—rodox unless
the songs are a form of
self-exorcism.

“Cache Cache” asks
questions, 'a lot of
questions, relating mostly
to experiences a vagrant
might have finding shelter
and a place to sleep for the
night. It is full of coldly
cogent images that
brilliantly define the
feeling of spiritual
outsider.

“Did You Steal My
Money,” with its lilting
back-beat shuffle and
harmonica, and eerie
chorus of the title line,
again finds us on the wild
side, in drunken alleys and
cheap hospital beds. The
title becomes more
obsessive as the song
progresses, withthesinger
finally losing all control in
a diatribe of accusations.

“HOW CAN YOU Do It
Alone?” .and “Another
Tricky Day," the opener,
and closer on Side 2, both
deal with emotional
poverty. The first uses
onanismasanimageofthe
selfishness and social
poverty of contemporary
life.alongthewaycreating ,
a bright pastiche of
musical styles from

English Music Hall to

Scots Barracks, Motown
falsetto to jaunty blues
rock. .
“Another Tricky Day”
posits the problems of an
outside world against the
slightly anxious hedonism
of the reflective lead voice,
assuredbyachorus singing '
"This is no social crisis.”
The most
autobiographical song,
“Daily Records.” brings a
reggae and bluegrass
influence mnsiully on to a
voice harassed by fashion
and the 'world and
retreating (or is it really
finding. meaning?) in
making records. This is the
song with the key lihe for
future exegesis.
money

“M
keeps me pooyfl