New The Who album combines new and old music style brilliantly

The Who’s new self-titled album, “WHO,” was released on Dec. 6, 2019. This is the first album by the band in 13 years.

Even before release, the album received overwhelming positive reviews in the press by NME, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The Telegraph and others. The Who’s lead singer, Roger Daltrey, referred to the new album as “[our] best album since ‘Quadrophenia’” which was released 46 years ago. Many publications have echoed these comments. With all the hype from the press, “WHO” is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest rock albums of the year. 

The Who is one of the biggest bands in history, yet they have not released a new album in 13 years. Plenty of tours, but no album. Having invented power pop, the rock opera, and the windmill strum, they are one of the most important bands for music’s growth. With all that in perspective, the new release is going to be the first time in over a decade anyone will be hearing new songs from this revolutionary band.

The new album “WHO” is a very strong addition to the The Who’s discography. It reminds me of the older releases in all the right ways. However, I also think it has a new enough sound to stand on its own. To me, it combines the old aspects of The Who that have made them one of the most successful bands of recent history and adds enough new ideas and arrangements to the mix to keep everything fresh and create a great new album. 

My favorite songs on the album are “Hero Ground Zero,” a symphonic rock song with apocalyptic themes, and “Detour,” a hard rock song with a Bo Diddley beat. “Hero Ground Zero” has very excellent production, especially on Daltrey’s vocals, for which two additional producers were required. “Detour” is an impressive arrangement tour de force for the album, as it switches between slow acoustic bridges and fast electric verses.

Fun fact: Reportedly, lead guitarist Pete Townshend, (who also acts as the bands songwriter and arranger) wanted Roger Daltrey to rap on the new album. Daltrey refused.