"So what happens when the man who had hoped to die before he got old doesn't? The answer. Iron Man. Looking at Iron Man from a strict rock & roll perspective, the album is a failure. Short on Who axe thrashing, Townshend's ironic lyrical barbs and guitar power cords, Who fans are apt to dog Iron Man, and rightfully so. There's not a fat energetic teen anthem to be found. Townsend has grown-up along with his fans, and "my generation" is still the same generation - it's just that they're now middle-aged. Like the Who's morality plays (Tommy & Quardophenia), the concept of Iron Man is the same; that is, young people have a great capacity for courage and love, they're driven by faith pursuing a greater common good.This rock opera is a big Broadway production number: a huge cast of vocalists, orchestra and sleek arrangements. Sort of the Who does Cats. `I Won't Run Any More' an excellent anti-establishment anthem for middle-agers with the line "I'm not gonna run anymore/I'm not gonna run like a rat to a piper's tune." The guitars rip on par with `Won't Get Fooled Again.' `Dig' is far removed from the egotistical `My Generation' with Roger Daltrey respectfully praising parents and grandparents. John Lee Hooker's guitar work on `Over The Top' and `I Eat Heavy Metal' is majestic and masterful. `I Eat Heavy Metal' is a torrid electric blues number played to put the Top-10 Hair Sissies to shame. Hooker sounds as though he's snacking on automobile engine blocks. Roger Daltrey and the percussion on `Fire' light-up Iron Man like a 1,000 watt bulb.Iron Man closes with Chyna and Nicola Emmanuel leading the entire cast in the inspired Grand Finale (New Life/Reprise). Iron Man is a captivating work about children for adults who aren't too "cool" to share children's fantasies. I'm not cool, just a middle-aged guy with the faith, energy and compassion of a child. Iron Man works for me."
An intriguing Pete Townshend effort
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 03/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Pete Townshend album is essentially the musical he wrote to the book "The Iron Man" by English poet laureate Ted Hughes. A diatribe against the heavy industry that dots the green English landscape, "The Iron Man" is a classic David-and-Goliath tale. Townshend does his best to put it to music and while the album has flaws, it is still a masterful piece of work."A Friend is a Friend" is a lovely, meandering, Who-esque anthem to the power of friendship. Townshend's yearning voice perfectly embodies the childlike refrain of "A friend is a friend/Nothing can change that/Arguments, squabbles/Can't break the contract." On "Was There Life," Townshend puts a Joe Jacksonesque and vaguely Spanish spin on discovering love sitting right before his eyes.While some of the songs have a fey, too-whimsical quality, Townshend wisely grounds these with the gravelly, dark voices of John Lee Hooker and Nina Simone. Simone is absolutely spectacular on "Fast Food," as is Hooker on "I Eat Heavy Metal"--what fun to hear him growling the lyrics, "I eat heavy metal/I don't truck with tinsel/I drink heavy water/I eat turbo schnitzel." Simone goes toe to toe with Hooker when she commands, "No I haven't booked/I don't want it grilled/I don't want it cooked/I don't even want it killed/If it's dead I heave/It makes me sick/So check that it can breathe/And bring it to me quick!"Not only does this album tell a story, but it does so via Pete Townshend. Can you ask for anything better?"
Not That Bad...
Joshua Miller | Coeur d'Alene,ID | 04/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pete Townshend's musical "The Iron Man" is based on a story by a man named Ted Hughes. Inside the CD is the story and the lyrics. I read a few of the lyrics but none of the story, I wanted to feel the music first before knowing the story. This musical is like a movie told in music, it's got singers playing characters and certain characters telling stories. As of this writing, I still have not read the story but have gathered some of it. Now I want to say, this is a great CD and it's really interesting. All the songs, as songs and not as chapters in a story, are good. They're catchy and have good vocals; Some of them sound like old pop songs, which is a bit cheesy, but it's still good. Here's the tracks and some comments on them:
1. Pete Townshend & Deborah Conway "I Won't Run Any More"-5/5-Good vocals by Conway. 2. John Lee Hooker "Over the Top"-5/5-John Lee Hooker (The Iron Man) the man man! This song is really cool, although the vocals that sing "over the top we go" are kind of annoying. 3. Simon Townshend "Man Machines"-4/5-Interesting 43 second interlude sang by who I believe to be Pete Townshend's son. 4. The Who "Dig"-5/5-Roger Daltrey sounds a little bit different from the "Baba O'Reilly" days, but still cool. 5. Pete Townshend "A Friend is a Friend"-5/5-A really good song with great lyrics. 6. John Lee Hooker "I Eat Heavy Metal"-5/5-Awesome. The brooding sound at the end is really good too. 7. Pete Townshend, Deborah Conway, & Chyna "All Shall Be Well"-5/5-The best song on here, so far... 8. Pete Townshend "Was There Life"-5/5-Great. 9. Nina Simone "Fast Food"-5/5-It's about an alien in the guise of a dragon wanting human flesh to eat or she will destroy the plant. Interesting story and really good song. Simone sings it perfectly. 10. Pete Townshend "A Fool Says..."-5/5-Interesting lyrics, really... 11. The Who "Fire"-5/5-This is a great song and it's not written by Townshend. 12. Cyna, Pete Townshend, & Nicole Emmannuel "New Life/Reprise"-5/5-Very good, really cool song.
There you go. I know this is an old CD and I haven't listened to any of Pete Townshend's recent stuff, but his lyrical talent has grown a lot since his days in The Who. The lyrics to "A Fool Says..." are really good and so are a few of the other ones here. His guitar playing is still great and he's a top notch singer. This is really an awesome CD.
GRADE: A "
The duality of materialism (Iron Man) and hedonism (dragon)
Antonio C. L. Cerqueira | 01/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like Iron Man a lot... I remember till now the very first day I listen to... that sound so beautiful, kinda church thing, evangelical stuff... maybe for that reason people don't like it... the sound ain't pop or rock, more to jazz, blues and even gospel sometimes... but great songs there... beginning with the epic song I Won't Run Any More (great power chords there), the funny Over the Top (with John Lee Hooker), the sweetness of Friend Is a Friend, the electronic power (great synthesizer work) of I Eat Heavy Metal (with John Lee Hooker again) passing through the beautiful gospel All Shall Be Well, the romantics of Was There Life and Fool Says (great acoustic work there), the super atonal and vanguardist Fast Food (with Nina Simone), the power trio of Fire and ending with the gospel New Life/Reprise... I like very much, it's beautiful, it's different, and has deep meaning, rationalizing about the western societies... the duality of materialism (the Iron Man) and hedonism (the dragon) and how to survive healthy to this antagonism, exerting temperance (when the Iron Man defeats the dragon). Summarizing, I love Iron Man."