October 26, 2020

1981-04-10 – Star Tribune

1981 04 10 Star_Tribune_Fri__Apr_10__1981_

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IVIIIIDI myou Ull

Billboard’ssalos charts for nearly
four years.

Chaste is the word, however, for the
previous Suites and the new one as
well, which is the soundtrack for the
film version of Neil Simon's play,
“California Suite.” The music simply
doesn’t swing The endless roulades,
the arpeggios up and down the scale,
the sheer breezinass and lorgetabi-
lity o! the music — all make it seem

like jam for people who really don't
like jazz

Bolling's ”California Suite” may
have worked nicely in the film, how-
ever. The quality of film music ought
not to be judged away from the film
it accompanies. Bat as a recording
played on the home machine, the
music sounds as tepid as character-
less as Bolling’s previous work.

“Face Dances.” The Who. Warner
Bros. HS 3513.

It is hard to count out The Who on
the basis of "Face Dances," the
band’s 14th LP in 16 years (and its
first for Warner Bros.) True enough,
Mick Jagger once said he couldn't
think of anything stiller than playing
rock and roll at the age of 40. As Jag-
ger hits 40 in a couple 0! years, we

wui sec uuw Silly ue lOOKS.

Peter Townshend o! The Who. by
contrast. seems to be slidlng rather
gracefully — or at least convincingly
— toward 40 while playing and writ-
ing a music long associated with
youth. The contradictions are
blurred in the songs on “Face
Dances." That is, instead of teen an-
thems, Townshend writes these days
of compulsions, frustrations, jittery
people and fading hopes. I! not ex-
actly ageless, such concerns clearly
are not restricted to the very young.

These are lonely, driven people that
Townshend describes. as desperate
(“I can’t bear to live forever like a
loner " from “Don't Let Go the
Coat") as they are selt-destructive:
“l drunk myself blind to the sound of
old T-Rex/ To the sound of old T-Rex

— Who’s Next," a reference to an
old Who album title.

Some of the songs are less comment
than wry autobiography: “I just don’t
quite know how to wear my hair no
more/ No sooner cut it than they cut
it even more/ Got to admit that I
created private worlds/ Cold sex and
booze don’t impress my little girls."

The final tune, “Another Tricky
Day,” offers some consolation and

an ecno ot the Rolling Stones' “You
Can‘t Always Get What You Want":
“You can’t always get it/ When you
really want it . . . Just gotta get used
to it/ We all get lt in the end . . . This
is no social crisis/ Just another
tricky day for you." That might be
called maturity, but, as expected
with Townshend. it is an angry matu-
rity. No one’s going gently into the
good night of middle age.

“Face Dances." in other words, is
one of The Who’s most impressive al-
bums of recent years. Townshend.
Roger Daltry, John Entwistle — they
may be familiar but they are not to
be taken for granted. Nor is drum-
mer Kenny Jones to be dismissed.
Jones, who replaced Keith Moon
(who died in the fall of 1978). gives
volatile, volcanic rhythmic suppon
from beginning to end. and Entwistle
contributes a couple of tunes of his
own. including a rumination on his

own public image of “The Quiet
One.”