Endless Wire review by The Who

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  • Released: Oct 31, 2006
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (34 votes)
The Who: Endless Wire
2

Sound — 9
The Who's been re-uniting for quite a long time, loosing band members and changing sessional musicians along the way. The latest version of the band features only two of the founding members - Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Even though half of the band is missing (the drummer Keith Moon died in 1978 and bassist John Entwistle passed away in 2002), they still keep the music business on. And here's the result - the new album (the first in 24 years) Endless Wire.

The released date has been postponed a number of times due to various circumstances, which only grew the anticipation of the fans. It finally happened November 9th. The album itself is 9 tracks, but it features a full version of the mini opera Wire & Glass released last summer plus a DVD with a concert Live at Lyon, recorded July 2006 in Lyon, France. All together it makes quite a voluminous double CD.

There is a number of musicians, who worked on Endless Wire, including Pete Townshend's son Simon Townshend on backing vocals, Peter Huntington sharing drummer duties with Zak Starkey, John "Rabbit" Bundrick on organ, Pino Palladino on bass plus two violin players, a viola and cello player (and this is not the end of the list)!

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey start the record with Are we breathing out or are we breathing in? still questioning everybody, including themselves, life-time questions as they used to do with the missing members of the band. Most tracks bring back the old memories as the band has been merely evolving over years. The stand-out of the album and the most powerful song is Mike Post Theme where ironically Daltrey yells We're not strong enough/We're not young enough! The song is upbeat and aggressive with a catchy anthem-like chorus -- not something you would expect from two old dudes.

Wire & Glass mini opera is 9 short tracks, pretty nostalgic as can be relied to the band's path and many of them are autobiographical. The whole idea is based on Townshend's novella The Boy Who Heard Music.

Pete Townshend produced the album himself to keep the original The Who sound. Endless Wire is done in the best traditions of classic rock music, neglecting the modern influences.

Lyrics — 9
The subject of age and getting older still presents in The Who's poetry. Forty-one years ago it was Hope I die before I get old (in My Generation). Now it changed to Emotionally we're not even old enough (in Mike Post Theme). Others are dedicated to children and the loved ones. The difference is they take another approach this time -- instead of singing about how much he loves her, Daltrey is now paying the dues (There comes a time in a every little punk's life/When he has to write a song for his common-law wife). There are plenty of anthems on the CD evoking listeners to different actions - like God Speaks Of Marty Robbins challenging Wake up and hear the music/Wake up and hear what the people say.

Daltrey still has the same strength and power in his voice, though now it sounds scratched and there is a certain strain in the vocals. He has to push it to get some moments of the songs, but he's got enough experience to make it sound as if it was meant to be this way.

Overall Impression — 9
I should give them a credit - just for taking a fight and releasing an album of 19 new songs when they could just relax and put out another Greatest Hits CD not bothering to spend time in the studio. It's obvious the fans appreciated it as the album debuted and number 7 on the Billboard album chart.

The band takes it serious, describing every equipment they were using recording the CD as well as giving credits to everybody who worked on the album on the CD booklet. Not anymore a careless guitar-smashing young band, The Who scrupulously finish every track, leaving no details without attention and putting the quality to the first place.

Sad to admit, the age has made it's job - Townshend and Daltrey don't look or sound anywhere close to what they used to, now wearing Diesel advertising t-shirts instead of bright geometrical-colored shirts. But, as Pete Townshend said: "This is not the old Who. We never said it would be. It is something else."

33 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Froddy
    Anauijaram wrote: So that makes it ok for him to look at child porn? Im sorry but if you do that in your personal life, i should be able to judge your music, yea he was good a long time ago, but does that give him the right to get away with looking at child porn? What a sicko. Get on the bus and touch some children is his next song.
    Hey D ICKHEAD. You missed out this part: [quote]crazynickman wrote: And all you pete bashers need to realize that he was CLEARED OF THE CHARGES AND FOUND INNOCENT , and regardless this is about his music, not his private life. I bet none of you knew that he was molested as a child by a family "friend" -quote] so you can suck me and everyone else unless you post something constructive you c ock. This album really is aweseome, I'd recommend anyone to get it, whatever reach of music they are into.
    crazynickman
    fcolbert wrote: Is Simon Pete's brother not his son? At a recent concert his brother was playing with the band but I dont remember if his name was Simon or not.
    Yeah that's his brother And all you pete bashers need to realize that he was cleared of the charges and found innocent, and regardless this is about his music, not his private life. I bet none of you knew that he was molested as a child by a family "friend" -grow up and just enjoy the music, its not hard believe me.
    Josh Duren
    This album is awesome! The songs are great, the lyrics are cool and this once again proves that The Who are one of the greatest musical conglomerates ever to bless the earth with their presence. I would recommend it to anyone who is into classic/artistic rock. Pete Townshend still has it. I hope this isn't the last of their albums!!!!
    JS5150
    I saw them live, and ya, they are old, and Daltry even had a cold, but it was still absolutly AMAZING. No, this cd is not as good as the classics, but it is still better than any song you will find on the top 40.
    scottishmob
    I bought the album the first day it was released and it is pretty great stuff. Also, to the Pete bashers, you obviously don't know what you're talking about. If I ever meet you I will be sure to ram my first down your throut.
    chimaeron
    The Who are Rock Gods !!!!! I want to see them once but they don't play very often in Belgium !!!!
    linny4england
    Anauijaram wrote: yea everyone seems to forget this guy claimed he was doing research for something by looking at kiddie porn SICK FUCKER, was famous 20 years ago now he just looks at little kids all day long... sad that his kid obsession influenced this album so much.
    where in the album is it about paedophilia??? theres songs bout young people init but thats jus black widow eyes, were its bout tht bezlan hostage thing and pete was cleared of all charges. Petes personal life as always influenced what his made u moron!! tommy was about meher baba who he was a follower of. quadrophenia was about all four members of the band. who by numbers, is just mainly him writing songs bout being paranid, a alchaloholic and not knowin who his true friends are so you obvisouly know nothing about the who if your saying that its now this as influenced his writing because nearly every song he writes is about a experience or his life.
    crazynickman
    Anauijaram wrote: So that makes it ok for him to look at child porn? Im sorry but if you do that in your personal life, i should be able to judge your music, yea he was good a long time ago, but does that give him the right to get away with looking at child porn? What a sicko. Get on the bus and touch some children is his next song.
    You got it wrong- judge the music all you want but his personal life should have no bearing on what you think of the music. Does Queen suck because Freddie Mercury was gay and only for that reason? Of course not.
    the_walrus67
    You Tell 'em, "Froddy". Anyway, I think this album is a masterpiece,it's a bit of relief from all the shit music that you hear today, My favorite song is "A Man In A Purple Dress"
    V-RodTom
    Pete is a Rock God! If he was found innocent and cleared of all charges. That is different from being found not guilty like OJ! I bought the CD today and it sounds very good to me. I also will be 4th row center stage next week when they play Arkansas. LONG LIVE ROCK!!!
    john_lennon
    the who are the greatest band to ever walk the earth. when this album first came out i didnt like it but after listening to it a few times i was blown away by the sheer quality of the writing. It is a very refined album, much like abbey road. Well done Pete!
    Anauijaram
    [quote]crazynickman wrote: And all you pete bashers need to realize that he was cleared of the charges and found innocent, and regardless this is about his music, not his private life. I bet none of you knew that he was molested as a child by a family "friend" -quote] So that makes it ok for him to look at child porn? Im sorry but if you do that in your personal life, i should be able to judge your music, yea he was good a long time ago, but does that give him the right to get away with looking at child porn? What a sicko. Get on the bus and touch some children is his next song.
    Anauijaram
    yea everyone seems to forget this guy claimed he was doing research for something by looking at kiddie porn SICK FUCKER, was famous 20 years ago now he just looks at little kids all day long... sad that his kid obsession influenced this album so much.
    Jesse Nouveau
    I haven't listened to anything off this new release yet, but I find the track titles to be quite silly. Mind you, I'm not saying anything about the quality of the music.
    Spamwise
    It's not really any of our business what Pete does in his personal life. he isn't and never claimed to be perfect.
    crazynickman
    fcolbert wrote: Is Simon Pete's brother not his son? At a recent concert his brother was playing with the band but I dont remember if his name was Simon or not.
    Yeah that's his brother And all you pete bashers need to realize that he was cleared of the charges and found innocent, and regardless this is about his music, not his private life. I bet none of you knew that he was molested as a child by a family "friend" -grow up and just enjoy the music, its not hard believe me. and its a good album
    Tim_Orme_Esq
    ive heard itsd absolutely shit, but im yet to hear the final copy. They got MUNCHED live when they played new stuff, everyone hated it!
    Soundb4speed
    so what theyre like 65 years old, they are ROCK GODS i would be happy jus to see em, nomatter how they play.
    fcolbert
    Is Simon Pete's brother not his son? At a recent concert his brother was playing with the band but I dont remember if his name was Simon or not.
    winterburn69
    This album is absolutely great, it's probably in the top 3 albums for 2006, its great, it's so much better than "It's Hard", and "Face Dances". I'd say its about equal with "A Quick One", which is fantastic. I'm sure big Who fans are like "what the **** is this guy doing comparing "Endless Wire" to "A Quick One"??" but it's great, Pete Townshend has built up alot of great material in the last 24 years, not all of it is great, but i'd say 2/3s of it is just fantastic. If you like The Who, go buy this album, its like classic-ish The Who, nothing like whats new today. It could have more of the crazy maniac Keith Moon-ish drumming of Zak Starkey, who only played on one song because he was touring with Oasis. The bass has Entwisltey flares at certain points, Roger Daltrey's vocals are still good, but you can tell they're old, especially in Pete Townshend's writing, but overall, its awesome.
    Norm!
    i dont know, they were great back in there day, personaly im obsessed with the who, but they should have gave up when keith died, it all went downhill from there, sure im still gonna buy the album, but its only because a true who fan cant deny it.
    MrDominoe
    It's a good album, but I still hold strong when I say that nothing can compare to the early stuff like "Magic Bus"
    ArcherTheVMan
    its a fantastic album and your review is good, but you must have wasted a lot of time to do it all. and i'm going to be finnicky and not look over the incorrect spelling of keith moon's name lol.