Friday, December 6, 2019

The Who reunite for first album in 13 years


The Who

Released: December 6, 2019

Peak: 2 US, 2 UK, 2 CN, 64 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: classic rock veterans


Song Title [time] (date of single release)

  1. All This Music Must Fade [3:20] (10/3/19, --)
  2. Ball and Chain [4:29] (9/13/19, --)
  3. I Don’t Wanna Get Wise [3:54] (11/22/19, --)
  4. Detour [3:46]
  5. Beads on a String [3:40]
  6. Hero Ground Zero [4:52]
  7. Street Song [4:47]
  8. I’ll Be Back [5:01]
  9. Break the News [4:30]
  10. Rockin’ in Rage [4:04]
  11. She Rocked My World [3:22]

Total Running Time: 45:45

The Primary Players:

  • Roger Daltrey (vocals)
  • Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals, bass, drum, keyboards, etc.)
  • Pino Palladino (bass)
  • Zak Starkey (drums, percussion)
  • Simon Townshend (percussion)


3.829 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)

Quotable: “It’s a throwback record for the most part, with nods all over the place to their classic work.” – Michael Galluci, Ultimate Classic Rock

About the Album:

After 1982’s It’s Hard, it looked like the end for the Who. Their follow-up live album, Who’s Last certainly suggested that. However, they reunited for various tours over the years, giving fans hope that they might record together again. Sadly, original bassist John Entwistle passed away on the eve of the band’s 2002 tour and it looked even less likely that another Who album would ever emerge. However, singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend came together again for the album Endless Wire in 2006 – a mere 24 years after their previous studio effort.

After yet another long layoff – this time 13 years – the Who are back with their 12th studio album, simply titled Who. Like the previous effort, this album finds Daltrey and Townshend at the helm, but with bassist Pino Palladino, drummer Zak Starkey, and Pete’s brother Simon all returning as additional personnel.

The lead single, Ball and Chain, was a reworked version of “Guantanamo,” a song Pete initially released on his 2015 compilation Truancy: The Very Best of Pete Townshend. All This Music Must Fade and I Don’t Wanna Get Wise were also released as singles.

Rolling Stone’s Kory Grow says “Townshend and Daltrey…can still summon their inner Who-ness in their mid 70s.” WK Ultimate Classic Rock’s Michael Galluci echoed a similar statement, saying “It’s a throwback record for the most part, with nods all over the place to their classic work.” WK

The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis says the album tackles themes such as the struggles that come with being an older rock musician. Songs like “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise” express the idea of “a rock career as one of inevitable decline.” WK New Musical Express’ Mark Beaumont says the song “reads like a 75-year-old Daltrey talking to the drunk and tardy 20-year-old who sang ‘My Generation.’” WK Variety magazine’s Chris Willman cited the opening line of “All This Music Must Fade,” “I don’t care, I know you’re gonna hate this song” as “hints of mirth amid the crotchetiness.” WK

Notes: A 2019 deluxe edition added the tracks “This Gun Will Misfire,” “Got Nothing to Prove,” and “Danny and My Ponies.” The Japanese edition included thos and a demo of “Sand” recorded by Pete in 1966. In 2020, yet another bonus track was added – a remix of “Beads on One String.” An additional CD of a live performance at Kingston was also added.

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First posted 8/12/2021.

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