Album Review: The Who created a rock-opera triumph with Tommy and then blew past it musically with the awesome Quadrophenia, another two-LP concept album that delivers intriguing lyrics and great music, including some of the best drumming and bass work every put to tape.
It's a little harder to follow the storyline in Quadrophenia than in Tommy, but that's not really the point.
From a concept-album standpoint, the fact that the lyrics treat the same sorts of subjects and the musical themes occasionally loop back on one another is plenty enough to give this album a tight conceptual feeling.
Early in the album, the driving baseline and strident vocals of "The Real Me" let us know that The Who mean business. The song "5:15" is similarly energetic, while "Is It In My Head?" slows the pace and gives us a memorable melodic ballad.
"The Punk And The Godfather" is a bold, anthemic song but pauses long enough in the middle to feature one of the most aching passages ever sung by Pete Townshend. The album closes with the majestic "Love, Reign O'er Me," which washes over us with the power of both its lyrics and music.
As with any double album, there are a few passages that can't quite keep up with the overall astonishing level of musicianship, but in the end, Quadrophenia triumphs mightily.
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