The Who's reputation

L. Bird pkeets at
Tue Jul 20 23:12:53 CDT 2004

>Bargain:  100% spiritual.  Every line in it talks about how the singer will
find god or something very like god.  David said it well.  This is not about
Christ, but it uses Christian language to express an Eastern spiritual idea.
"I'm looking for that free ride to me, I'm looking for you."  That is *not*
about a girl.  It's echoed later in I Want That Thing, which is mostly
materialistic, but has this chorus ("free ride to the house of life") that
recalls this line from Bargain as well Lifehouse in general.

Once you use the setting as a clue to meaning, I'll agree with this.  
However, I do believe the other interpretations are valid.  Someone could 
well think he's expressing feelings for a woman, or making a bargain with 
his audience.

>Eminence Front:    100% non-spiritual.  I'll agree that it has depth and
layers of meaning, but I can't find any that are spiritual.  "Front",
"kill"?  you'll have to do better than that.

"Front" and "kill" are what make it fit into an anti-war album.  War is one 
theme embeded in the song, and I don't consider these words to be clues to 
spirituality.  However, I can't agree that it's completely non-spiritual.  I 
just listen to those lyrics and my brain goes click at "the big wheel 
spins," click at "the hair thins" and clunk at "forget they're hiding."  
Aha, the wiring tells me, they're hiding from death, and that puts us into a 
spiritual realm.

>Real Good Looking Boy:    Partly spiritual.  "God gave him a face, and he
gave me something above.  God gave me grace, and he gave me a sweet, sweet,
sweet love."  How can anyone say that's *not* spiritual?  Please!  But,
"lucky fucks and angels"?  Kevin's right.  The angels are girls.  But, what
is this "theatre in the sky?"  "Quite what that means, I don't know."

Okay.  For once Pete has come right out on the surface with God here.  
Spirituality is obvious.  The fun subtext in this one is that he's in love 
with Elvis/with a rock star image/with himself.  He's posturing in front of 
his mirror, and his mom shoots him down.  Maybe this didn't happen when Pete 
was a kid.  Maybe this was last year.  ;)

I'm with you on "theater."  It's a mixed metaphor that seems out of place.  
Movies?  Plays?  Actors?  I don't see 'em here.  That's why I was admiring 
Bill Keller's word "glitter" a couple of days ago.  It sounds like stars or 
sequins and it fits better.

>But, your question was something like, are Pete's older or newer songs more
spiritual?  Well, I'd say both.  The very early songs are mostly not
spiritual at all.  Then much of Tommy and all of Lifehouse are very
spiritual.  After that, some songs are, some aren't.  But I do agree that
he's still writing *some* spiritual songs, certainly more than his pre-Tommy

I'll go with this.  As long as we don't name specific songs, then we won't 
get into arguments about the spirituality of each particular song.  However, 
Pete has also said that every album he writes is a concept album, which sort 
of indicates that spiritual songs clump together.  Where you find one, there 
may well be others.

For example, he's said that WHO ARE YOU is a second look at LIFEHOUSE.  I 
notice that many of the songs seem to be about rebirth and renewal, a theme 
that runs through the whole album.  I know that many people will insist it's 
not about spirituality, but once I've identified clues to it, then it's hard 
to convince me it's not there.  The same thing goes for PSYCHODERELICT.


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