October 29, 2020

1986-02-14 – The Missoulian

1986 02 14 The_Missoulian_Fri__Feb_14__1986_

Record wrapup

Townshend hits fine form with ‘White City’

of tho Mluoullln

Ambitious and impressive, Pete
Townshend’s “White City” purports to
be a “novel” about White City, a Lon-
don housing project.

The album falls short of that grand
dream — like all Townshend works, it is
finally more about Townshend than any


housing project — but it’s still a fine re-
cord, packed with his sharpest writing
and singing in years.

“Give Blood," powerful and haunt-
ing, is an apt choice to begin the record.
“Give blood,” Townshend sings, “but
you may find that blood is not enough.”
The blood image becomes a metaphor for
ceaseless struggle, for always fighting the
good fight, and Townshend returns to the
image again and again on “White City.”
In fact, a later song on the album even

contains a snippet from “Give Blood.”
The next song, “Brilliant Blues,” im-
plies that Townshend finally has put aside
his angry-young-man persona. “It’s time
to teach, it’s time to preach,” he sings,
but the song is not without a sense of loss
—— “say goodbye to the brilliant blues.”

And then it’s back to the good fight,
in the bracing “Face the Face,” as excit-
ing as any music Townshend has made in
the 19805, with its furious, jazzy beat and
a powerful horn section roaring away.

The rest of the record is just as good,
from the reggae-tinged “Hiding Out,” to
the punch of “Secondhand Love,” to the
surge of “White City Fighting.”

“White City” is a superb record,
compelling evidence for Townshend’s fe-
rocious stance that adults can make
thoughtful and exciting rock ’n’ roll.

(Mike Mclnally Is a Illuminati
lumen! elty edltor.)