The Who's reputation

L. Bird pkeets at
Tue Jul 20 12:08:01 CDT 2004

>I'm starting to get confused.  Are you saying it's spiritual or it's 
>anti-war or just deeper than Mark suggests.  I'd like to chime in to 
>disagree, but I can't seem to find your position!

That's because I've shifted positions.  ;)  I'm playing the Devil's Advocate 

What I'm saying is that EF is deeper than Mark suggests.  From my point of 
view, this is an extremely complex song, mixing metaphors about war, life 
passing, the social scene, and hiding things (as Mark says) behind a false 
front.  I think it's about upper class (and middle, if you want) social and 
business competition, and the players are hiding from the fact (from 
themselves) that they age and die like everybody else, and that they operate 
in a spiritual and moral vacuum.

What we're pursuing here is whether Mark's comment is accurate that older 
Pete songs were spiritual and uplifting, but that's "out the window" with 
later songs.  My point of view is that Pete has become increasingly cynical 
in the years when he was disenchanted with The Who, but that the songs are 
no less spiritual because he's talking about failures instead of ideals.  
There's more anger in the songs, and less hope, but he's still talking about 
spiritual matters.  After all, Pete has said that ALL his songs are about 
God.  That includes "Eminence Front" and RGLB as well as "Bargain."

What I'm saying now is that there's generally very little in the earlier 
songs (e.g. "Bargain") to indicate that they are of a spiritual nature.  
It's true that quote about being "naked, stoned and stabbed" might alude to 
Christ, but that's a very small hint, and it could be taken as just a random 
thought with no particular meaning.  If you can say the allusion to angels 
in RGLB and the direct mention of God DON'T make this a spiritual song, then 
how does "naked, stoned and stabbed" make "Bargain" into one?

If we could hear Roger sing some of these angry songs, they might well come 
off like WGFA or "Who Are You."  Anger is nothing new in Pete's 
writing--QUAD if full of it.  So how is spirituality and uplift out the 
window in these later songs?  I haven't read anything here yet that tells me 
Mark is justified in saying this.


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