Tuesday, June 24, 2008

the who cares (update II)

(named for that long lost band who recorded "sell out", an ongoing online dialogue between jimmy eight cats and gihyb. geekr'y off the friggin charts)


Jimmy Eight cats wrote:

In response to Kiko Jones' heartfelt defense of "Who's Next", the problem isn't that those songs have been played to death like so many other "classic" rock bands, it's the nature of the songs themselves. With "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again", Townshend appoints himself the Voice of a Generation (note the use of "we" in WGFA), something the Beatles never did, and they had a pretty good claim to the title. Moreover, they're self-referential, but not in a Chuck Berry "Rock and Roll Music" kind of way.

Although I'll grant you that the White Album has a lot of bad songs, but it's not a great album. (ed. note: GIHYB and JEC disagree on this topic, though GIHYB is impressed with the fact that our mutual friend Jack owns one billion albums, including the complete Shaq discography, but not the white album)

As for the Who vs. the Dolls, the New York Dolls original two LPs are far superior to anything the Who released after "Sell Out", and more fun too. They're rock and roll records and much more meaningful than any of Townsend's self-pitying, self-important, self-indulgent wankings. Outside of a few singles (and by that I mean "The Seeker" and "5:15" -ed. note: xmastime loves "you better you bet" ... no prisoners today!!!!), almost any song on the first Dolls album is better than almost any Who song recorded after 1968. It's like Townsend threw away his Chuck Berry albums.

And the Who were better when Daltrey was a singer and not a vocalist. "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH"

Where's Screamin' Jay when you need him?

16 comments:

Kiko Jones said...

Great back-and-forth, guys.

JEC makes some good points regarding Townshend’s occasional and overbearing ‘Voice of a Generation’ pose—although this is the guy who literally wrote a first person claim to it: “My Generation”—and yes, he has indulged in his share of “self-pitying, self-important, self-indulgent wankings.” Obviously, different strokes and all that, but to state that “almost any song on the first Dolls album is better than almost any Who song recorded after 1968” is madness on so many levels. Madness, I tell you.

Maybe Townshed did throw “away his Chuck Berry albums.” OK. But as much as I may dig, say, “Can’t Explain” or the aforementioned “My Generation”, I didn’t want to hear that same sound from them for the next 5 albums. And I suspect the Who faithful probably felt the same way. Whether or not one has ear fatigue from listening to “Won’t Get Fooled Again” 86 million times, it is still the quintessential Who track. For better or for worse—the former, in my personal opinion—its open power chords, driving bass, and patented ‘Moon fills’ are the sound of The Who. (Btw, the same could be said of “5:15”.)

As for ‘The White Album’ the stellar tracks on it are what make It great. While the likes of "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da", "Wild Honey Pie", "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", "Piggies", "Rocky Raccoon", "Why Don't We Do it in the Road?" and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey", for instance, quickly remind us that the Fabs were mortal. And could write crappy songs like the rest of us.

godihateyourband said...

... can't go there with 'won't get fooled again'. don't see it as the quintessential track. it's an amalgamation of who stalwarts. they became cliches later on ('who are you' ... the wretched 'athena' ... 'under a raging moon' anybody???). i'd go for 'anyway, anyhow anywhere', 'substitute' or hell, the one that put em on the map, 'my generation'.

Rambler said...

Some of the best stuff the Who did was never released as part of an album--Water, Don't Know Myself, Pure and Easy (yeah, on Odds & Sods, that doesn't count)...

I can't seriously believe that the NY Dolls (whom I love) produced anything better than Who's Next or Quadrophonia....come on people.

Xmastime likes You Better, You Bet. That explains a lot. Eminence Front was the only semi-decent post-Moon song.

Want to hear something great, Who's cover of Baby Don't Ya Do It and live Dreaming from the Waist.

Rambler Out!

Jimmy Eight Cats said...

I usually try to be more eloquent than this, but unlike Townshend I'll be concise:
Quadrophenia sucks.

"Looking for a Kiss" is as good a rock song as you could ask for, a "Summertime Blues" for the '70's.

And there were no good post-Moon Who songs. And not all that many in the years leading to his death,either.

Rambler said...

OK, sucks. please. The Real Me, Drowned, 5:15, Punk Meets the Godfather Bell Boy, Dr. Jimmy are all masterpieces. You can say the concept didn't work, but it is some of their best music. Moons drums and Entwistle's bass on The Real Me alone makes that album worth the price of admission.

Won't argue woth post-Moon Who songs. Will argue that Who By Numbers is very unappreciated--Slip Kid, However Much I Booze, Dreaming from the Waist, Success Story, They're All in Love are all excellent (for me anyway).

Jimmy Eight Cats said...

You know why I find the Who so fucking annoying? Because their fans like call songs "masterpieces".

Rambler said...

They are masterpieces, just as Sympathy for the Devil is a masterpice, a Day in the life is a masterpiece, Smells Like Teen Spirit is a masterpiece...it's just a word.

Rambler said...

I also won't bother to go through every Beatles song to find use of the word "we" to base a whole arguement around although I'm sure there is an example or two somewhere. But even if Pete did appoint himself voice of a generation (and I don't think he did, I think that was done to him, not by him) so what. As Pete said,
"I've got a guitar up here if any big-mouth little git wants to come and fucking take it off me..."

None did, none could.

Jimmy Eight Cats said...

That's supposed to prove Townshend's greatness? That ridiculous, non-sensical quote? Jesus Christ, it's not that far John Lennon with a tampon on his head.
As for him being appointed the voice of a generation, the man practically invented the self-important rock star interview.

And yes,"masterpiece" is just a word. A word frequently used to describe third tier heavy metal albums in Wikipedia entries.

Rambler said...

Man, what Who fan stole your girlfriend in 8th grade?

Jimmy Eight Cats said...

Who fans have girlfriends?

godihateyourband said...

wow!

Rambler said...

Before I indulge the tit-for-tat game we've gotten into, I want to go back to one of your comments regarding The Who post "Sell Out." You site "The Seeker" as an exception when "The Seeker" is one of his most pompous songs ever. I still don't get self-important? Should every rock song be boy wants to fuck girl? Anything beyond that is self-important, self-indulgent wanking? I just want to know.

godihateyourband said...

i'll interject here. i may be restating jimmy's (9th cat's) thoughts, but i do think once pete started espousing, he lost his initial spark. they were a band for their time. BEFORE tommy. fuck, lennon was bummed being in the beatles and hearing their initial burst. they were one of the most (kill me for saying this) important bands around. and kill me for this too, hendrix, same time was saying NOTHING. amazing gtr, YES, but nothing substantial. my generation (the song)= mindblowing (can't explain also). the totality of sell out= consequential in a statement of society at the time. tommy was overblown & self-indulgent. too me, it was fake.

i will bow down to quadrophenia. but that was a nod to a time that meant something to them (him).

Rambler said...

Forgetting the debate of Tommy being overblown (and I'm not a huge Tommy fan) and Pete's sense of self-importance, I do feel we are losing sight of the actual musical innovations going on with Tommy and Who's Next and even Quad. Are we to dismiss that as well? Moon's drumming on Who's Next, Entwistle's bass on everything? Daltrey's singing on Who's Next? Pete's innovations on Who's Next? We take all that shit for granted, but at the time it was...yes...groundbreaking.

To disregard all that because yes, the man had a "healthy sense of self" (in between the intense self-loathing he felt) seems, well, short-sighted.

Kiko Jones said...

"I do feel we are losing sight of the actual musical innovations going on...Are we to dismiss that as well? Moon's drumming on Who's Next, Entwistle's bass on everything? Daltrey's singing on Who's Next? Pete's innovations on Who's Next? We take all that shit for granted, but at the time it was...yes...groundbreaking.

To disregard all that because yes, the man had a 'healthy sense of self' (in between the intense self-loathing he felt) seems, well, short-sighted.
"

Amen.