Year 3, Day 40: The Who – Who’s Next
- Baba O’Riley
- Love Ain’t for Keeping
- My Wife
- The Song is Over
- Getting in Tune
- Going Mobile
- Behind Blue Eyes
- Won’t Get Fool Again
About the Album
Who’s Next is the fifth studio album from English rock band, The Who. Recorded from April 1971 through June of the same year, the album was released mid-August of the same year through Track Records in the United Kingdom and Decca Records in the United States. The album was a massive critical and commercial success, peaking at the top of various charts worldwide including number four on the Billboard 200 in the United States and number one on the UK Top Albums chart. In the United States alone, the album is certified three times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of American (or RIAA).
Thoughts on the Album
So here we are, the last day of the project, day 40. I figured I needed something epic to end the project with. So why not end it with some Who. No, no, no, not “who?”, The Who. Today’s album is the 1971 release, Who’s Next. As stated above in the “about the album” section, the album was a massive critical and commercial success. Not to mention it spawned probably two of the greatest rock songs ever recorded: the anthemic Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley.
Who’s Next opens and shifts into first gear with the iconic and anthemic, Baba O’Riley. If you have listened to albums from The Who before this one, then Baba O’Riley was unlike any track from the band you’ve heard before. It’s opening synth riff is immediately recognizable. It’s the three note bass riff, the pounding drums from Keith Moon, the power chords from Pete Townsend’s guitar, and Roger Daltry’s powerful voice give the song it’s feeling. It’s a song that receives regular airplay on FM Classic Rock (and in some cases general rock) radio stations today.
From the beginning of Baba O’Riley to the end of Won’t Get Fool Again, the album doesn’t let up. The songs on this album are loud and in-your-face… even the ballads share this feeling. Where there is anger and sorrow, humor and regret, passion and tumult, are all mixed together and combined then wrapped up into one package where the seething rage is just as potent and reaching as the heartbreak is. Most music critics also seem to agree that Who’s Next, despite not having any real discernable theme to the songs, is a much stronger release than Tommy.
The last track on the album, is probably not only the band’s most iconic, but one of rock and roll’s most iconic tracks. It’s the hard hitting and powerful, Won’t Get Fooled Again. It’s approximately eight plus minutes of eargasms. The song opens with a power chord and synth riff. This is all before the bass and guitar come back together in pulling off a grandiose and epic riff that soars. Over top of the instruments, is Roger Daltry’s roaring voice, wailing away. (Side note: if you ever get to just hear the bass in this song by itself, do it, listen to it. It’s so powerful, it may blow your mind.) The beautiful thing about this song is that there is an “ambient” section were rest of the band except the synth mellow out. Don’t let it fool you though, it’s only luring you in more. It lures you in, and then explodes. Just explodes. The ambient synth gives way to a pounding drum solo. All before Roger Daltry bellows out the most iconic scream “YEAH!!!!” in rock history. The album ends on a powerful note, a hell of a way to end.
It’s not that other songs on this album are slouches, they are not. But It’s obvious which ones were the most famous ones. This is a hell of an album. The production, the instrumentation, the composition, everything is next to perfect. It is an iconic rock album that has and will continue to, hold up to the test of time.
And that is how you end this project, go out on a epic and powerful note.