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Then And Now review - Flint, MI Journal


"The Who - Then and Now" (Geffen) 
Friday, April 02, 2004 
By Doug Pullen 

The latest in an unending series of Who hits
collections has something the others don't - two new
songs. "Then and Now" gathers 18 of the bombastic
Brits' biggest hits - from 1964's frantic "I Can't
Explain" to 1980's lethargic "You Better You Bet" - on
a single disc, topped off by two new songs that
suggest there's still some juice left in the Who.
What's left of them. 

Like the Beatles' "1" and the Rolling Stones "40
Licks," which introduced those British Invasion
warhorses to younger audiences, "Then and Now" is a
guided tour through the Who's storied past. By serving
up only the radio hits, and not necessarily the best
songs from their greatest albums ("Tommy," "Who's
Next" and "Quadrophenia"), it doesn't come close to
telling the full story. We live in a singles era now,
but the Who made their mark in the '60s and '70s with
soaring thematic albums that functioned as rock's
version of the confessional novel. 

The payoff here comes with newly minted gems "Real
Good Looking Boy" and "Old Red Wine," both worthy
additions to the band's (and chief songwriter Pete
Townshend's) considerable canons. "Boy," taken from
Townshend's multi-media project "The Boy Who Heard
Music," is the better and more ambitious of the two,
with Townshend returning to the kind of sprawling,
episodic, confessional songwriting that he does so
well. Roger Daltrey's muscular voice mines deep warmth
and emotion on the bittersweet "Old Red Wine,"
inspired by the 2002 death of bassist John Entwistle. 

If surviving members Townshend and Daltrey do go
through with plans to record a new album, these two
songs are a good way to start. 


-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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