The Who Sings My Generation
Pete Townshend - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
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Bruce Beatlefan (January 17, 2008)
The Who visit a lot of strange and wonderful corners of the rock and roll world before settling into the roaring, introspective (and largely humorless) hard rocking Who of 1971's Who's Next and beyond. Curiously, it is this debut album, 1965's My Generation, which most strongly suggests that direction: the album most like what The Who were to become in their maturity.
In My Generation we see Pete Townshend in the early stages of learning his songwriting craft. Hence, brilliance ("My Generation", "The Kids Are Alright", "The Good's Gone", "Circles" gets lumped alongside songs which are obviously first efforts ("Much Too Much", "That's Not True", "La-la Lies"). "A Legal Matter" stands apart, giving us a surprisingly mature glimpse into what was to come from the middle-aged Townshend of the 1970's.
Most impressive is the band's performance which is so unmistakenly The Who. Roger Daltrey (lead singer) is already impressive with his ability to communicate a wide variety of sounds and emotions, with the hard rocking "Out in the Street" and "My Generation", the sincere "The Kids Are Alright", the snarling world-weary "The Good's Gone", and the punky coolness of "La-la Lies" (He also shows that he doesn't make such a hot James Brown). Keith Moon is already attacking the drums in his inimitable style, and John Entwistle is already thrumming his hard base and offering his fine high harmonies (the eccentric/macabre songs don't come until the next album).
The deluxe version of My Generation tells the story of The Who before Pete Townshend's burgeoning songwriting: a strong leaning towards R & B (best is a superb "Anyway You Want Me"), along with their first two singles/B-Sides, "I Can't Explain"/"Bald Headed Woman" (written by their first producer Shel Talmy, this is a riot), "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" (actually, a thundering alternative take)/"Daddy Rolling Stone". Americans finally get to hear the REAL song "Instant Party" (as opposed to the song "Circles" which was mistakenly released under the title "Instant Party"). A couple interesting a-capella and instrumental tracks are thrown in, all of which richly justify the extra investment.
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