Friday, March 22, 2013

113 The Who sell out- Beans!

Album: The Who Sell Out
Artist: The Who
Year: 1967
Genre: Rock


1. Armenia City in the Sky
2. Heinz Baked Beans
3. Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand
4. Odorono
5. Tattoo
6. Our Love Was
7. I Can See for Miles
8. Can't Reach You
9. Medac
10. Relax
11. Silas Stingy
12. Sunrise
13. Rael (1 and 2)

Pete Townshend had to do a lot of hard work for The Who. The Beatles had John and Paul contributing ideas, The Stones had Keith and Mick, but The Who just had Pete who had to write all the songs while his band waited for him to deliver the goods.

Once his compositions reached the studio the other three more than pulled their weight by being collectively the most talented quartet playing at the time, but when it came to bringing material to the studio only Pete was making much of a contribution. Consequently the Who's original albums often look a bit sparse compared to releases by their contemporaries because they tend to be padded with filler. Often the padding comes in the form of covers, lesser Townshend tracks or compositions by John Enthwistle that wouldn't even be considered as a B-side by most other bands. On The Who Sell Out however Pete relied on comedy to try and pad out the proceedings.

The concept driving Sell Out is that the band have peppered their album with radio advertisements and station jingles in order to make it sound like the listener is hearing a radio broadcast. Songs start with station idents and there are entire tracks which are just simulated adds for products like Heinz Baked Beans. As concepts go it's original, unique and genuinely appalling.

Who in their right mind has ever listened to an album and thought: "You know what? This would be much better if it had ads in it and those tedious jingles that radio stations use. That's what's missing". And have you ever put on the radio and thought: "These songs are all very well but I'm really here for the cloying jingles and attempts to sell me things I don't need". Of course you haven't. We listen to albums because they're ad free and we endure radio commercials and idents because it pays for the songs. But if you buy an album you've already paid for the songs and you don't need to hear anything promotional. The Who have basically diluted what we love about music and added a large dose of the crap that we don't. That's not a concept it's a mistake.

There are a few great Who songs scattered throughout the album. I can See for Miles, Tattoo and I Can't Reach You are among their best sixties pop songs. Sadly the crap moments (a Heinz Baked Beans ad which is just over a minute and another one for Medac cream which is just under and an awful Entwhistle track named Silas Stingy) tend to overshadow the highlights, especially when the good songs are often marred by a station jingle that comes in at the end over the top of the coda.

Highlight: I can see for Miles
Lowlight: Anything written by the bass player

Influenced by: The Beatles and a need to pad out an album.
Influenced: A singer named Petra Hayden who recorded the entire album (including instrumental sections) acapella. Seriously.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I don't know about you but I spend a lot of time online researching beauty products. Was not seeing for miles a meta for tripping? I can see this screen and see it needs sweeping. A little nostalgia for the old folks: happily jack odor oh no as a song bed to humm her and insert a product link."

-I'm sorry... what? What on earth are you talking about?

So would you buy this sell out or put it up on ebay straight away? Let me know below

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