Something seems to be missing these days. It seems that record companies, radio stations, and streaming services are pushing some the great established musicians to the background. As a result these veteran artists are not getting the attention they deserve. Enter the Top 10 Album Countdown: The New Oldies. The main point is simple – to make this list you must have at least 20 years of producing established music. The album by the artist must have been released between November 1st, 2019 and October 31st, 2020.
#3 The Who – Who
Who, the twelfth studio album by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, The Who is the New Oldies #3 2020 Album of the Year.
The fact that this album is the twelfth studio album by The Who is not a misprint. The Who simply is not a band that has been one to crank out studio albums. While Who was The Who’s first studio album in 13 years, it is actually only the band’s 4th album in the past 42 years (since the death of drummer Keith Moon). Today’s version of The Who is pretty much the duo of Roger Daltry and Peter Townshend, but its this nucleus that keeps the flame of The Who.
As for the album, one thing is clear – Classic Rock is not dead.
As in the past Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend recorded their parts of Who separately. The formula works as things click well here for The Who – delivering some of the best music I’ve heard from them in a long time.
Who is a great collection of 14 tracks, but it is the second track Ball and Chain that stands out. It was originally a Pete Townshend solo song called Guantanamo, which was released on his 2015 compilation album Truancy: The Very Best of Pete Townshend. It also was performed under the name Big Cigars before eventually being titled Ball and Chain. The is about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. This song belongs up there with the 50+ years of Who classics.
Songs like All This Music Will Fade features a signature acoustic guitar sound the band has been known for. Beads on One String brings a socio-political vibe while incorporating elements of classic rock and psychedelia. “Beads” is a song that will grow on you the more you listen to it. Psychedelia is also seen on track She Rocked My World.
When I first listened to Hero Ground Zero, I was drawn to its orchestral and rock qualities. It also had the rock-opera qualities Townsend is known to bring to the table. The backstory is that Townshend originally wrote it as the opening orchestral track for an rock opera entitled Age of Anxiety. He sent the track to Daltrey back in 2016, and he loved it, so Townshend decided to include the tune on Who.
In addition, Street Song, Rockin Rage, and This Gun Will Misfire each reminded me of a mini Rock opera. Danny and My Ponies is the closing track and has a storytelling element, but not quite an opera quality.
I Don’t Wanna Get Wise has many classical elements of The Who, but its a song written from perspective of Townsend being older and set in ones ways.
The hits are just delivered track after track. Deteor‘s hand-clapping stuff shows the band isn’t afraid to experiment. Street Song is a powerful track that grips you from start to finish. Break the News and Got Nothing to Prove are throwbacks to the 1960s. Finally, I’ll Be Back brings some elements of Country and R&B molded together with classic Who.
Top to bottom, this is an amazing album and really deserved more airplay. A worthy album to land in the top three – “New Oldies” or not.