Poetry & Production Meet
Mad Ludwig III | Springfield, MA | 02/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, the basics: This is an excellent CD. The writing is primarily excellent, occasionally inspired, and w/ just a few 'wince' moments that let you see the Man Behind the Curtain. Then there's the music w/ all of Mr. Townshend's trademarks: melodies with intelligent hooks that propel the song, not make the song subservient to the hook; world-class musicianship, powerful choruses, AND that thing fans have come to expect (poor Pete) -- Mr. Townshend's ability to consistently provide us with a hand-full of turns-of-phrase that so perfectly match their musical settings they become a permanent part of us. And then there's the production values. Superb! Awesome! Richly Satisfying!
Secondly, reading the other reviews of All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, I'm struck by the criticisms of "overproduction," "pretentiousness," etc. Those reviewers probably weren't there in the 70's when the Rock-Zeitgeist became ripe w/ the desire to, 'have it all:' to have authentic rock 'n roll, WITH grown-up lyrics/subject matter AND WITH top-quality production values. A little poetry added to the mix would be nice, too. ? When All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes hit the racks, we had a whole record that fullfilled that Zeitgeist. But even more to the point, if you want more from your Rock than escapism, if you've ever had that sublime experience of enjoying good music WHILE feeling you were taking part in the greater-conversation going on in our culture -- YOU NEED THIS RECORDING.
Pete's last overt attempt at being fashionable...
whipitgood | 02/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Listening to this record reminds me of the Britpop group "Human League". The songs feature heavy synth and 80's production values. In other words, it is a good record but very much of its time. If you consider what was going on then (Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Men Without Hats, Yaz, M, Falco, Duran Duran, etc.), it is clear that Pete was having trouble letting go of his status as a contemporary pop icon. Even the album cover is an attempt to mask his true age (he does his best to look like a wide-eyed teenager, doesn't he?).
Pete pulled a similar stunt in the music video for "Eminence Front" (from the same year), whereby he appears in a candy-striped T-shirt, short pants and a leather jacket (his thinning hair dyed slightly orange and combed forward). In retrospect, I'd have to say that it was rather undignified for a future rock 'n' roll hall-of-famer to be engaging in this kind of behavior. But I also think that it's difficult for anyone to let go of the past, and Pete just had the misfortune of having to grow up in front of a camera because he's such a public figure.
At any rate, his innate talent and songwriting ability seem to shine through regardless of his transparent (and occasionally laughable)attempts to seem more contemporary than he truly is. The appeal of his music is that it is durable and timeless. Why aspire to being something less than what you truly are? I suspect that there was a deep-rooted sense of insecurity at work here, something that he has (hopefully) overcome at this point.
Enjoy this collection of songs for what it is, and try to forgive it for what it isn't. "Slit Skirts" and "North Country Girl" are two of the many oustanding tracks featured here."