Day 223: The Who – Tommy

9 Oct

Pinball Wizard

Nope, it’s not Tuesday, and my father did not pick this album.  Is it really so strange that I wanted to listen to a rock opera about a blind, deaf, and dumb kid with a knack for pinball, though?  That’s what I thought.

But, like a million monkeys on typewriters given enough time, my dad would have definitely picked this record for me at some point.  He’s not The Who’s biggest fan, but Dad-Rock Tuesday has become a bit of a weekly music history lesson.  As the first record to receive the label of “rock opera,” I’d say that Tommy is pretty significant.

But is it any good?  Let’s face it, based on pretty much everything that I’ve previously written for Swole Ear, this album should be considered one of the worst things to ever penetrate my ear canals.  In the form of a bullet-pointed list, I present why Tommy should suck:

  • It’s long (1 hour and 15 minutes);
  • It’s old (1969);
  • It’s a concept album taken to the extreme;
  • It was/is extremely hyped; and
  • It’s supposed to be an influential game-changer.

I usually can’t stand long albums because they make this website take up more time than I have available.  I have very little patience for old albums, as old people often let nostalgia get in the way of objectivity.  I can never follow the story in concept albums, usually because there isn’t that much of a story.  Hyped music rarely lives up to the hype, and when I hear the word “influential” in a description of certain music, I immediately think of In the Court of the Crimson King.  We’re not going there today.

Tommy is different.  Sure, it’s really long, but it’s got a story to tell, and a good one at that.  I actually understand the concept too, thanks to the prominent vocals, understandable lyrics, and, of course, Wikipedia.  And I must admit that sometimes, hyped records are hyped for a reason.  This is one of those rare occasions where the album lives up to its press.

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2 Responses to “Day 223: The Who – Tommy”

  1. Cousin Chops October 10, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    OK, J$, just for dissing the Old Folks, I say that this week’s DRT is an ELP triple live album – or something along those lines.

  2. Yuanny Dollar October 10, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Young Mr. Ear actually received a little ELP greatest hits as a gift one time and demanded that it be turned off during the Nutrocker. Given his review of Tommy, I’d say his taste has improved. He seems to be finding his own path to a few chestnuts, so I won’t torture him. However, there may be a little Chicago II jazz-rock in his future.

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