"I don't care / I know you're gonna hate this song". WHO comes out of the gate with a ton
of attitude and crashing power chords, and ends with a quiet but snarky vocal fade out from Pete. Kind of a cousin to "New Song"
(which opens 1978's Who Are You). One of three classics on the album.
"Ball And Chain" (Pete Townshend)
Pete Townshend's 2015 best of, Truancy, included two new songs. One of which was "Guantanamo", which has been retitled "Ball And Chain".
The song was reworked with louder guitar, a touch of Who's Next-style synths, and of course Daltrey's voice. I like Pete's
original, but I think this is an improvement. Daltrey's vocal really makes it.
"I Don't Wanna Get Wise" (Pete Townshend)
More poppy than traditional Who, "I Don't Wanna Get Wise" seems like it would slot well on a Townshend solo album, except for Daltrey's
vocal again, complete with a subtle nod to the stuttering on "My Generation" ("all those s-s-s-snotty young kids").
Pete's "Daft Punk" style background vocals seems to be a nod back to "Be Lucky". Not typical Who, but a classic nonetheless.
"Detour" (Pete Townshend)
"Detour" uses the "Bo Diddley Beat" on the verses, which combines nicely with a smooth chorus. The title may be a call back to "The Detours", an early
pre-Keith Moon version of the band. Took me a couple of listens to get into this one, but I like it.
"Beads On One String" (Pete Townshend / Josh Hunsacker)
The first big departure from The Who's typical sound, "Beads On One String" feels like a Townshend solo song in the verses with a more Who-ish
chorus. Very pretty, and dramatic.
"Hero Ground Zero" (Pete Townshend)
A song seemingly built for The Who's "Moving On!" Tour, "Hero Ground Zero" couples Townshend power chords with sweeping orchestral backing.
The Who played this on the tour before the album was out, and I'd seen it referred to in reviews as "The Hero Of Ground Zero". The song has nothing to
do with 9/11; it's about an aspiring rock star.
"Street Song" (Pete Townshend)
"Street Song" has more Who's Next-style synths, although it reminds me more of "Fragments" from Endless Wire.
Lighter, but still enjoyable.
"I'll Be Back" (Pete Townshend)
A striking change of pace: a bittersweet love song about reincarnation, with a Townshend lead vocal, string arrangement, harmonica, and a short vocal
section bordering on rap. The least "Who-like" song on the album. I couldn't put my finger on why it didn't move me, but my wife nailed the description
perfectly - sounds like lounge music. Schmaltzy. Weakest song on the album.
"Break The News" (Simon Townshend)
Simon Townshend's songwriting contribution to the album is the third classic on the album. It's definitely more "pop" than the Who's usual sound,
but it's such a good song it doesn't matter.
"Rockin' In Rage" (Pete Townshend)
Like "Beads On One String", "Rockin' In Rage" has very different verses and choruses. The verses have strings and a nice Daltrey vocal. Once the chorus hits,
Townshend's slashing power chords makes the title way more apt. A lyric clearly written from Daltrey's point of view.
"She Rocked My World" (Pete Townshend)
The second really dramatic change of pace. The bossa nova tempo doesn't really fit the Who's sound. Pete's experimenting on this one, and that's cool, but
it kind of falls flat for me. The other weak track on the album.
DELUXE EDITION BONUS TRACKS
"This Gun Will Misfire" (Pete Townshend)
A leftover from the album sessions, this has Pete's demo with other musicians. Not sure why Daltrey opted out of this one. I think
it's a better track than "I'll Be Back" or "She Rocked My World", and it would've sounded great with Roger's voice.
"Got Nothing To Prove" (Pete Townshend)
"Got Nothing To Prove" combines a Townshend lead vocal from a 1966 demo with fresh backing and orchestration styled to
sounds like it could also have been recorded in 1966. Love it - it's completely charming and very well done. It doesn't fit in with
the rest of the album at all, but I'm glad it's here.
"Danny And My Ponies" (Pete Townshend)
Another leftover from Pete's 2019 demos, this one is presented as is with no extra musicians. A gentle, folky song with a sad lyric only marred
a bit by what seems like some Auto-Tune effects on Pete's voice at a few points. Another odd choice for a Who album, but I like it.
BONUS TRACK ON VINYL OR JAPANESE ISSUE OF THE CD
"Sand" (Pete Townshend)
"Sand" is another Townshend demo from 1966, but this one hasn't been altered. It's a great song and tailor-made for The Who, especially the explosive ending section.
I'm absolutely floored the band didn't record this for The Who Sell Out. Would have loved to hear this with
Roger, John, and Keith on it. A must-hear.