Irrelevant Troubadour

The Who, Quadrophrenia
January 15, 2011, 7:35 pm
Filed under: music

This is my second review for the TV Tropes Album Exchange Club.  It’s of The Who’s Quadrophrenia.

Oh Quadrophrenia, you great big ball of over-the-top rock ‘n’ roll drama you. The big problem with this, The Who’s second rock opera, is that it’s a bit too heavy on the “opera” and light on the “rock”. The incredibly grandiose, Broadway-style presentation of this album can be a bit of a turn off, especially on songs like “Helpless Dancer” where the music isn’t good enough to live up to the lavish treatment it’s getting.

However, moments like that are few and far between, since most of the music here is golden. And if you’re willing to approach this music on its own terms—as a big sprawling ambitious West End revue about teenage alienation—it really reveals itself as a classic. After all, don’t teenagers always think of their emotions in these grandiose terms?

This album has a clear counterpart in Pink Floyd’s fellow teenage angst epic The Wall, only unlike The Wall, this album rocks. “The Real Me” and “5:15” are great rock songs; “Cut My Hair”, the amazingly over-the-top “The Dirty Jobs”, and “Love, Reign O’er Me” are amazing fist-pumping power ballads, and “Doctor Jimmy” manages to combine all of this.

So in short this is a great album if you’re prepared for a whole bunch of teenage emotional theatrics. And aren’t those what rock ‘n’ roll was founded on?

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