The Who

Endless Wire (Universal Republic)

Phases & Stages

The Who

Endless Wire (Universal Republic)

Pete, sweetheart. Enough with the rock operas already, "mini" or otherwise. The age of grand statements died with Keith Moon. Thankfully, Endless Wire's first nine Townshends garrote their predecessor, 1982's It's Hard. "A Man in a Purple Dress," "Black Widow's Eyes," and Supreme Being "God Speaks of Marty Robbins" bust into the Hall of Who, anarchic, melodically adult, meditative. "Mike Post Theme" harks back to goofier Sell-Outs. A separate producer for "Roger Daltrey's vocals" proves money well spent given Wire's DVD, 25 minutes of live croak in Lyon, France, 2006, while "Marty Robbins" and closer "You Stand by Me" sparkle on their author's still-crystal tenor. That's when Wire & Glass guillotines Endless in half, excerpting Townshend's novella, "The Boy Who Heard Music," in 10 more tracks. Michael Kamen-like orchestration à la "Trilby's Piano" went out on Metallica's S&M, and genuine Who hook "We've Got a Hit" – practically an afterthought. We're Not Gonna Take It.

**

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