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The Who - Tommy CD (album) cover

TOMMY

The Who

 

Proto-Prog

3.93 | 505 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars TOMMY is one of those so-called "firsts" that doesn't quite muster up the goods to fall in the category of the "bests." A rather ambitious project by THE WHO that was fairly cutting edge back in 1969 when the music world was in a creative explosion ushering all kinds of firsts like fully developed progressive rock in the form of King Crimson and East Of Eden, totally new genres like heavy metal from the likes of Black Sabbath or brilliant and creative new forms of jazz-fusion from the likes of Miles Davis but unlike their contemporaries THE WHO's first foray into the newly opened possibilities of progressive rock just doesn't seem as competent as all the others. Apparently the album was partially inspired by the teachings of Pete Townsend's spiritual guru Meher Baba who claimed to be an avatar and God in human form (seems like everyone had one after the Beatles went to an ashram in India). The story is about a boy named Tommy who is deaf, dumb and blind and his world as he goes through life. Hailed by critics at the time for being one of the first rock opera's and was in no doubt THE WHO's major breakthrough after a couple psychedelic rock albums firmly planted in the style of the late 1960s.

I have never loved TOMMY nor have I ever hated it. For me this is just one of those historical relics that marks a time in musical history as a milestone of sort but never really able to sustain itself throughout the decades that passed. The story is not a bad concept but what really keeps me from loving this album is how much of the music sounds the same track after track and segments are played way past their point of making the point. The midpoint overture cleverly titled "Underture" is the perfect example of a song that just goes on and on and on offering meager variations and has no ability to sustain my interest. I find this is true of much of this album. There are many individual tracks that are brilliant. I'm quite partial to the hits "Pinball Wizard" and "I'm Free" but there is just too much clunkiness on this album for me to get excited about. Having said all that I do like to throw this on now and again because it does mark a specific time in history and for that reason I do like this album but when I want to hear THE WHO I usually go straight for the much better releases that immediately follow. 3.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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