I was a bit skeptical at first, having read the not-so-glowing-reviews and thinking that there is no way the album was going to stand a chance to the greatness of 'Quadrophenia', but the album has quickly grown on me after a few listens. It's Pete's most personal record and maybe that's why I like it so much. It's modest and unambitious and that's welcomed with me as well. I think it was the best decision at the moment; something even more ambitious than Quadrophenia would've probably failed. None of the songs are Who classics but I love most of them, with 'Imagine a Man', 'They're All In Love', 'Blue, Red and Grey' and 'How Many Friends'* as my absolute highlights. If I were to be objective, then maybe 'Tommy' and 'Who's Next' are better, from a song-writing point of view (never been a fan of 'Success Story' and 'In a Hand or a Face', to be honest) but 'By Numbers' is just the record that I play more often. It resonates with me more, I guess (not sure if resonates is the right word here though, I'm not an alcoholic rock star , but you get my point).
*I've read somewhere that this was Moon's favourite song on the album and that he even cried when Pete played it to him.
I think that "Slip Kid" and "Squeeze Box" could have certain status of classics, actually. "Imagine A Man" is a beautiful ballad, and I've always liked "How Many Friends" a lot. Your're right when you say that it's Pete's most personal record, in fact he sang lead vocal en several songs. And Quadrophenia
was by far the most ambitious proyect of the band (at least a finished proyect), so it's not surprising that Pete had taken a break here. Maybe you feel the same way about The Who By Numbers
as I feel about Who Are You
, a misunderstood album in my opinion.
I love both 'A Quick One' and 'My Generation', but when it comes down to choosing one of them, I'd definitely go with the former. I think you were lenient in calling the James Brown covers boring - to me they're kind of horrible. Plus, I'm a big of fan of the mini-suite.
I like both of those albums too, but My Generation
has an intriguing sound that really catchs me. I think the best songs in A Quick One
were written by John, but Keith and Roger wasted their opportunity as songwriters. The mini-rock opera is an historic piece, but probably the live versions are better.
Also, I listened to 'Face Dances' last night for the first time and was hugely disappointed. What do you think of it?
I think it's a decent album, beyond its slight 80's pop tinge I dislike so much. It would be at #9 in my studio albums list anyway (It's Hard
, the next album, is really awful). My favorite songs are "You Better You Bet" and "You".