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The Who Is Back

Rock 'n' roll is driven by the rebellious energy of angry, young boys. Right?

OK, that's a bit of a cliche. But if ever a rock band lived up to that particular cliche, it was The Who.

Pete Townshend and the boys were among the first to smash and blow up their instruments on stage, among the first to destroy their hotel rooms, and among the first to pile up stacks of Marshall amps to make them the loudest rock band in the world.

The Who put out its last recording of new material 24 years ago. But now the surviving members — guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend and lead singer Roger Daltrey — have a new recording out, called Endless Wire.

And Daltrey is once again singing new songs written by Townshend.

In the liner note, Daltrey writes, "Just like Olivier and Gielgud strove to connect the audience with Shakespeare, I strive to connect the listener with the soul of Pete Townshend's music."

The results, like most of The Who's records, are uneven.

The album still has plenty of recognizable Who moments, but it's impossible not to measure the elderly Who against the old Who. The wild animal bombast of the band's youth is gone and Townshend's writing is now laced with more acoustic guitars and introspection. But unique flashes of brilliance remain.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Christian Bordal
Christian Bordal is a Norwegian-American (via Australia) musician, radio producer, and freelance music journalist who contributes regularly to Day to Day. He's very good at making faces and making a fool of himself, and he once impressed his NPR editors with a drunken recitation of the gibberish poem "Jabberwocky." He briefly considered launching a career performing at children's parties, but he finds his own children to be trouble enough. In addition to this list of remarkable professional accomplishments, he is a producer at member station KCRW in Los Angeles.