The Who: Endless Wire (Oct 30, 2006)

After almost exactly 24 years, The Who has finally released their 12th studio album, "Endless Wire". The album packs with 19 tracks in 56 minutes comprising vaporous acoustic laments, The Who rock style. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey have contributed their skills and talents into this album. Endless Wire is devided into 2 parts, the first nine songs stand on their own while the final ten make up the mini-opera "Wire & Glass".

Does The Who make the big statement here? probably not. Depend on how you look at it. The album do what The Who has always done; unfortunately, not in the big way. Endless Wire is like all other Who albums. Songs are written in the way Townshend does best, spirituality and music.

The album starts with "Fragment", a repeated keyboard forbear before that distinctive Townsend guitar breaks in along with drums from Zak Starkey and bass from master session player Pino Paladino which soon later be joined by great voice from Daltrey. Sound so far so good.

"Man In A Purple Dress" does really give the album more interesting. The structure of the song is simple with just acoustic guitar and vocals in country style. Daltrey absolutely stands up in this song by successfully delivery his passion and feeling into the lyrics.

Probably the highlight of this album is "Mike Post Theme”. The track opens with a big chord with Daltry scream "We're not strong enough / We're not young enough!”. Then the song suddenly switches into the passionated "day dream" mode before another big chord section. The pattern is repeated throughout the whole song. Daltrey again perfectly deliver his emotion into every lyrics in this song.

"In The Ether" might be considered as one of the only two mis-steps from The Who in this album. It will becomes the worst if not for Townshend's vocal affectation. The song is not effective enough, no climax, running flat throughout the whole song. On the bright side, it has a great lyrics describing an aging rock star whose drug abuse has left him confined to a sanatorium. Daltrey doesn't just sing the song but acts it out for the listener and he's accompanied by some emotive piano and gentle acoustic guitar.

"Black Widow Eyes" sounds like the normal love song with the profound lyrics. "The Two Thousand Years" definitely shows Daltrey's amazing voice with simple clear acoustic guitar. In the coming song, Townshend pays tribute to his heros in " “God Speaks of Marty Robbins." The song has the leanest and most beautiful guitar arrangement in the album. Daltrey also gives the memorable voice "Robins-Style." We, then, come back to rock mode in "It's Not Enough." Townshend perfectly delivers a truly stunning guitar solo in this song. "You Stand by Me" is the final track before the rock opera half of Endless Wire kicks in.

This second half was previewed as a EP entitled “ Wire And Glass” last summer which is based on Townshend's novella, The Boy Who Heard Music, that he published as a blog on his website last year. This episode consists of a string of short powerful songs. The section starts with "Sound Round" which could have been a single following by another thundering sound in "Pick Up The Peace." Townshend proves that he can write a really good rock song here. Then they slow the tempo a bit in this following banjo-led jig “Unholy Trinity". The second mis-step in this album lines in the next song “Trilby's Piano" which is considered the weakest track on the album with Roger's vocal sounding a little forced. The country-influenced “Endless Wire” offers Townshend a chance to change pace and tone smoothly while "Fragments Of Fragments" is another little repeated keyboard track from “Baba O'Reilly" yet more music-focused version of the first track on the album. “We Got a Hit” sounds like something you can almost sing along to on first listen, but Townshend's been creative enough with its melody that it stays fresh on repeated listens. “They Made My Dream Come True” is also another simple song with great clear melodic guitar. The mini-opera climaxes with two powerful track “Mirror Door”, an utterly bonkers rollcall of the musical greats with big riffs and "Tea & Theatre", a sterile drum track atmosphere giving the feeling of loss with the heartfelt lyrics.

Overall Endless Wire is by far another great album from The Who. Daltrey and Townshend surely deliver the musics up to their par with a little twist in the second half.

Track of "Endless Wire "

Track Song Sample
1 Fragments
2 Man In A Purple Dress
3 Mike Post Theme
4 In The Ether
5 Black Widow Eyes
6 Two Thousand Years
7 God Speaks To Marty Robbins
8 It's Not Enough
9 You Stand By Me
10 Sound Round
11 Pick Up The Peace
12 Unholy Trinity
13 Trilby's Piano
14 Out On The Endless Wire
15 Fragments Of Fragments
16 We Got A Hit
17 They Made My Dreams Come True
18 Mirror Door
19 Tea & Theatre


Positive: The album is perfectly constructed and mixed. Songs are well written and composed. Both Daltrey and Townshend successfully deliver the album up to their standard. Townshend proves that he can create the great rock song while Daltrey guarantee you the best vocal experience.

Negative: This album seems almost like all previous "The Who" materials with a little twist. Townshend seems to be more focus and serious than he needs to be.

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