John Entwistle

Thunderfingers: The Best of John Entwistle

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As a solo artist separate from the Who, John Entwistle has never been more than a cult figure. His solo music rocks harder than Pete Townshend's, and, at least initially, what he lacked as a singer he more than makes up for in the sheer weirdness of his lyrics. This 18-song collection may make a few converts, showcasing the best songs from five albums cut between 1971 through 1981. The five songs off Smash Your Head Against the Wall are the best tracks here, while a surprising amount of the rest is Entwistle's retro-inspired parodies of vintage rock & roll, most notably "Roller Skate Kate" (a dark-humored parody of numerous late-'50s/early-'60s teen death songs) and "Mad Dog" (paying tribute to "My Boyfriend's Back"). "Drowning" has a few obvious remarks about songwriting, and "Fallen Angel" could easily be a statement by Entwistle about his own status as a rock star. "Too Late the Hero" makes a sufficiently somber coda, with some very dense electronic orchestrations and catchy choruses highlighting an eerie, bittersweet song about life's disappointments.

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