The Who

Quadrophenia [Music from the Soundtrack of The Who Film]

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The film adaptation of the Who's rock opera Quadrophenia couldn't have been different than the film of Tommy. Where that was garish, star-studded, and wrong-headed, Franc Roddam's Quadrophenia was lean, incisive, and nearly brilliant, thanks in no small part to his gritty, matter-of-fact approach and a searing, star-making performance by Phil Daniels. It was focused, dramatic, and affecting, the best illustration of what a rock musical can do, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the accompanying soundtrack is equally fine. It repeats much of the Who's album of the same name, plus a generous share of re-recordings, which may be subtly different (there are an abundance of grace notes on "I'm One," for instance), but different, more produced all the same. Even better, they're all pretty good, and help give this a different -- yet, again, subtly different -- feel than the album that's welcome. Then there's the last side of the record, containing a bunch of mod anthems -- which means there's a bunch of early-'60s soul, plus a couple of girl group numbers and "Louie Louie," all of which are familiar, yet still offer a good portrait of what mods actually listened to. Along the way, a song by the High Numbers -- the early incarnation of the Who -- is thrown in for good measure, along with the Cross Section's take on "Hi Heel Sneakers," plus three new songs, all added to assist the film narrative, all enjoyable but only "Four Faces" really standing out (and it sounds more Who by Numbers than Quadrophenia, anyway). So, unlike the Tommy soundtrack, this not just stands apart from the film, it's a nice little record on its own merits -- one that many passionate Who fans will enjoy, even as they realize it's hardly a monumental effort.

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