Monday, 8 June 2015

Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia, album review

Goosebumps Rein

I don't see how Quadrophenia is a rock opera in the same breath as Tommy is, though I accept that this Royal Philharmonic performance of Rachel Fuller's operatic transcription is definitely an.....Opera, with Alfie Boe replacing Roger Daltry's vocal as a sure sign that I also accept this is a 'version' that transcends the hillbilly hayride that transported Tommy as far away from opera as a sowsong from a Singspiel [see here].

However, one tentative link I will make with that bluegrass appropriation is there is a definite 'fun' element in the listening of this, albeit more aptly entertaining and expansive. Boe provides a gravitas to the vocal [not as comparison with Daltry] that engages, though his vocalisation of the word 'fuck' doesn't carry the singular gravity of its usual contextual vernacular. There are similar aural disconnects in lines like I am a young man, I ain't done very much. But otherwise it is a a powerful and beautiful addition.

What surprises me as listener is that when the 'other' voices of Phil Daniels and Billy Idol assert their authenticity it seems out of place with the presence established by Alfie [and if we address him by his Christian name he does seem much more ordinary]. There may be an element of my relative unfamiliarity with this compared with Tommy that perhaps allows me to 'accept' its overall distance from the original more too. As has been noted by other reviews, closer Love Reins O'er Me is stunning: whatever genre; however judged. Goosebumps galore.

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