The Who's avatar was galvanized by the punk movement when he penned the 10 songs for this 1980 outing, his most commercially successful solo release. The album's opening track, "Rough Boys" (dedicated to the Sex Pistols), puts his viewpoint on the safety-pinned insurrectionists on the line: "I want to bite and kiss you," Townshend barks. In "Jools and Jim" he scolds bilious upstarts who "don't give a shit Keith Moon is dead," while the title track finds the "aging" punk godfather (he was 35 when the record came out) dismally admitting that "life is useless." Elsewhere, Townshend returns to the spiritual concerns that dominated his 1972 Who Came First solo debut, notably on "And I Moved" and "Let My Love Open the Door," Empty Glass's hit single. Musically, Townshend resurrects the rhythmic synthesizer patterns he concocted for Who's Next while also drawing on the drive of those punks whose devotion and contempt he so openly pines for. --Steven Stolder
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from SANTA CRUZ, CA
Reviewed on 4/18/2009...
this IS an awesome album! go check out a clip of "i am an animal" on amazon
(bvilleborn) from NASHVILLE, TN
Reviewed on 8/7/2006...
Hit single "Rough Boys" and "Let My Love Open the Door". Reminds me of my youth!
Post-rock Who-pop perfection
Cecilia C. Hull | Richmond, VA | 08/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Who can argue with an album that contains two of the most perfect rock songs ever recorded? And that's not even counting the hits ("Let My Love Open the Door" and "Rough Boys")! "Jools and Jim" is Pete's strange, stirring challenge to punk rock and rock criticism of the late 70's and also, along the way, a sad meditation on the death of Who drummer Keith Moon: "Typewriter tappers/You're all just crappers/You listen to love with your intellect" is sung over the most propulsive, explosive music Pete ever created outside the Who. "I Am an Animal" is even more powerful, with Pete lacerating himself, in a voice that veers into falsetto (echoed by adventursome bass runs), over drums like rolling thunder: "I was always here in the silence/But I was never under your eye/Gather up your love in some wiseness/For every memory shall always survive/And you will see me!" The rhythm section on this album (Tony Butler on bass, Mark Brzezicki on drums) went on to become the rhythm section of band Big Country, but the best moments of "Empty Glass" are worlds more sophisticated and powerful than anything Big Country or the later-day Who could hope to achieve. Transcendant, pounding, powerful, beautiful stuff."
Lovblad | Geneva, Switzerland | 02/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A gold CD edition of the same...unfortunately not much better sounding but more expensive..."