Sound — 9
In "Who Are You", there is a very noticeable difference between their previous album "The Who By Numbers". Pete Townshend brought the synthesizer back into the studio work creating multiple layers like his work in "Quadrophenia." Another very noticeable difference is the more tamed-down drumming of Keith Moon because of his poor physical condition from drug and alcohol abuse. John Entwistle becomes even more prominent in the album especially with his distorted bass line in Trick Of The Light. Roger Daltrey is still able to belt out those high-seeking notes he's notorious for. The sound is unique, so Pete deserves some credit for further exploring the possibilities of the synthesizer.
Lyrics — 8
Through Pete songs, it appears his main focus is on the new genres of mainstream music which appeared after "The Who By Numbers" in 1975 such as punk rock and disco. New Song, Sister Disco, Music Must Change, Guitar and Pen, and Who Are You all express Pete being overwhelmed by the change since their last album. Amazingly, John writes a 1/3 of the songs on "Who Are You" with rocking tunes like Had Enough and Trick Of The Light and the sci-fi track 905. Pretty consistent themes, but there really isn't anything awe-inspiring about the lyrics on this album.
Overall Impression — 9
The final album ever recorded by The Who with Keith Moon is not one where all the musicians are at their peak, especially Keith Moon. The band was beginning to separate and focus on their solo careers. The upside to this album is that it does stand as a lasting tribute to the sudden and tragic death of Keith Moon, one of rock and roll's finest drummers. "Who Are You" also has it's rock anthem with the self-titled track as a living masterpiece of Pete's. This album is a quantum leap in the appearance of sound compared to their last album, so it seems there's too much synthesizer. Regardless, there are some solid tracks such as New Song, Had Enough, Sister Disco, Trick Of The Light, and of course Who Are You and enough rock to go out with a bang.