Digitally remastered Japanese reissue of The Who's 1982 album in a miniaturized LP sleeve with the original packaging intact. Limited to the initial pressing only, it also features all four of the bonus tracks included on ... more »MCA's U.S. reissue in the '90s! T« less
Digitally remastered Japanese reissue of The Who's 1982 album in a miniaturized LP sleeve with the original packaging intact. Limited to the initial pressing only, it also features all four of the bonus tracks included on MCA's U.S. reissue in the '90s! T
An awesome and unfairly maligned early Eighties album
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 07/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the last Who studio album I purchased, a fact that may have influenced my love for it. I'd been waiting a long time for it, had to specially order it from one of the music stores in my college town after having waited in vain for ages for it to show up on its own, and ended up paying $17.84, which is a rather high price for a CD in one of the music stores in Amherst, MA! After waiting so long, it had better be good. Even after it was in my hands and I was back in my room, I had to spend what felt like fifteen or twenty minutes trying to pry the CD out of the jewel case; it was screwed in so tightly I was afraid it might break. In addition to this long wait, I had already heard all of the negative hype surrounding it and was expecting something at least mediocre, if not outright bad. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised when I fell in love with it upon the very first note. Probably a lot of older fans hated it because they were unfairly comparing it to their great masterpieces which had gone before, and the fact that they didn't like Kenney Jones's drumming. As a younger fan, I had more of a historical perspective on it. (This album was released a few months before I turned three, but I can't recall having heard any of these songs on the radio at the time; it may have been made in my lifetime, but I was a bit too young to remember it and thus was able to come to it in early adulthood with a blank slate.)
This album is a thousand times better than FD. The only song on IH I don't like is "Why Did I Fall for That?" The others are pulsating and alive with energetic music, upbeat, interesting, touching, sometimes political lyrics, top-notch vocals, all-around great quality. It's a great series of statements about some of the things going on in the early Eighties. A lot of fans hate "A Man Is a Man" and "One Life's Enough," but I love both of those songs (perhaps because I'm a female fan and most Who freaks are men); the latter song is incredibly lush, beautiful, and erotic. It might not be as well-known as the New Wave records that were so common in this era, but I think it's aged better, and besides, how many albums put out in 1982 are still remembered today?
The bonus tracks suffer from the same problem as the three bonus tracks on WBN--they're just live versions of songs we just heard earlier on the album (though WBN features one live song that wasn't on that album but a hit from several years ago), not unreleased material that, in the case of a number of their other albums, doubled the length when they were reissued. But the bonus tracks here are more exciting, with great onstage dialogue; the CD reissue even manages to end with the same song that the original LP did, only in a live version. "Cry If You Want" is such a powerful and emotional early Eighties classic, a perfect album closer either live or in a studio version, and most of all a fantastic swan song."
The Who's Final Anthem
Bud | Seminole, Texas, USA | 03/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I hate it!" was lead singer Roger Daltrey's opinion of "It's Hard," The Who's last studio album to date. This was in stark contrast to Pete Townshend's view; the guitarist/songwriter seemed eager about the album and felt that The Who had been musically born again and revitalized. The same difference between the opinions of Daltrey and Townshend appeared among critics and fans. Rolling Stone called "It's Hard" The Who's best since "Who's Next," while others were less impressed. Some fans ate it up, others quickly spit it out. Whether all of this has anything to do with the fact that The Who hasn't recorded another studio album since then or not, "It's Hard" is a headstrong album that contains as much angst, bitterness, and determination as their most heraled albums.
"It's Hard" is identifiably 80s, considering the synthesizers that fill the album; but it should be noted that The Who were among the first to innovate the use of the synthesizer in the first place (see "Who's Next," recorded eleven years earlier). But the range of emotions overwhelm even the synthesizers. The entire album is an anthem. The Who's instantly recognizable contempt for the fact that they were getting older is obvious; Roger Daltrey belts bassist John Entwistle's words in 'It's Your Turn,' "I was a face in a magazine/When you were still playing with your plasticine." Also evident is the group's disenchantment with the emptiness of the 1982 music scene, as they state in the title track "Any kid can chatter, few can inform. It's hard..." Much of the material here is catchy, even when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, examples being the bar band-like 'One At a Time' and the more accessible 'Why Did I Fall For That,' 'Cooks County,' and 'Eminence Front,' the closest thing to an audience-embraced hit on the album...except of course the opener 'Athena.'
There are four bonus tracks on this remaster of "It's Hard," all of them recorded live. These concert tracks, especially the title song, reveal to the audience the true anthemic purposes of this album. Another studio release from The Who would have been great, but for the time being, we are left with "It's Hard" as their studio swan song, and frankly it doesn't get much better than this."
Very underrated WHO Album
Lance E. Goldsberry | Minneapolis, Minnesota United States | 07/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Album was slammed by Roger Daltery himself, who said that other than Eminence Front, it should not have come out. It was not one of the WHO's more successful LPs, reaching only #8 and going gold but not platinum. Still, it is very underrated and has held up very well over the years. First, Eminence Front, one of the 2 or 3 greatest Who songs, is worth the price of admission here. Second, there are several other worthwhile songs, most notably Athena, a top 40 single, the Title track, and John Entwistle's compositions, especially Dangerous. Actually, John Entwistle wrote the best material on the WHO's last three albums, not only because his material is good in its own right, but because Pete was saving the best material for his solo albums- see Empty Glass and All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. Face it, the WHO never made a bad record, and this LP, initially criticized, has aged extremely well. Strongly recommended."
Why was this remixed?!
K. M. McGuinness | New York | 09/08/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Sadly, the remix/remaster of this fine album is another example of historic revisionism. I thoroughly enjoyed this album, but the remix was a terrible idea. They changed the drum parts on "Cry If You Want"!!! This was one of Kenny Jones' finest drum parts on a Who album...terrible choice in changing it. If you loved this album back in '82, then buy a used copy of the original cd...much cheaper too. Buyer beware!"
The Who went out with all guns blazing
Stretch | Boston, MA | 03/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If only they had the decency to throw in the towel instead we see these endless "Reunion" and "Anniversary" tours. Their reputation has been severely damaged. It's Hard was their last album and it's a step above the disappointment that was Face dances. Of course it's not on the same level as Who's Next and Quadrophenia, but any fan who makes that unfair comparision has lofty expectations. "Athena" was the album's opener and it reached the Top 40, peaking at #28. Despite that, it was inexplicably left off their recent "Ultimate Collection" CD. Should've been included, there was plenty of room. With playful lyrics and horns thrown in, it has an undeniable good-time feel. Not far behind is "It's Your turn" which is strong as well."Cooks County" is often overlooked. It's a serious song intended to raise awareness about the world's state at that time. It boasts an engaging synth line. The title track's keyboard line bears a striking resemblance to "Badlands" by Bruce Springsteen."Dangerous" is another hidden gem penned by John Entwistle (R.I.P)The B-Side seems to be entirely forgotten, as the two hits were on Side A ."I've known no war" kicks off Side B and contains a potent message plus a syncopated drum beat. "One at a time" has a horn-infused hook. "Why Did I fall for that" is highly enjoyable with a harmonizing chorus. The only weak link here is "A man is a man" the song is decent but I always thought the lyrics were kinda boring. Closing things off is one of the most underrated songs in The Who's catalog, "Cry if you want" it rocks hard and features a climactic ending.Many fans have knocked this album because they say "It's not really The Who without Keith Moon". Granted he was an integral part of the band and can never be truly replaced, but Kenney Jones is a suitable fill-in and is more than adequate behind the kit. I was at the record store and first discovered the single "Athena" on 45. I was lucky enough to find It's Hard on vinyl. Definitely worth a listen."