Strait to the Point: THE WHO – Eminence Front (single, 1982)

Review by: Michael Strait

Rated: 4/5
Awesome single, honestly. Makes me nostalgic…

I was being serious at the end of my last review – I’m fuckin’ done with The Who’s albums. I am not George Starostin, and I’ve no interest in subjecting myself to albums made by bands that have passed their sell-by date. I had, however, heard great things about “Eminence Front”, so I decided to check it out. And y’know what? I love it.

It’s a cool song, and I don’t just mean “cool” as synonym for “good”. I mean cool, as in radical, as in lethal, as in badass, or whatever ya prefer. It’s totally self-confident without being overbearing about it, partly because Townshend sings it instead of Daltrey (thus dropping all the manliness) and partly because it’s just so groovy. RYM calls it “Funk Rock”, which I guess it is, but it incorporates the funk in a way much more seamless and much less token than, say, anything the Red Hot Chilli Peppers ever did. The bassline only becomes really noticeable in the chorus (and man, that tone is monstrous), and it is, delightfully, accompanied by some psychedelic electric pianos of the sort you can imagine Herbie Hancock playing; that’s the sort of intelligent, respectful treatment I never expected ageing, past-their-prime rockers to give funk, and I’m so happy they did it. I’m also happy that they finally found some good synth tones again, though there are some iffy, kinda corny ones whizzling away in the distance in the second iteration of the chorus. They’re endearing, though, like some soundtrack for an old arcade game, and when was the last time I found a Who song endearing? Man, I might have to go back to The Who Sell Out for that…

Anyway, yeah – the general consensus is right on this one. Moon or no Moon, this song’s worth a listen or four, and maybe even a dance or two if you’re in the mood for something slow. It’s a pleasant reminder of all the talent, creativity, and good taste The Who have always possessed, even if they lose track of it sometimes. I feel like it’s a great way to end my Who series on a positive note, so I’m cutting it off here. No more Who reviews – and I’m skipping next week, too (got an exam). I’ll be back the week after that reviewing God-knows-who. Ah, what’s a snappy way of ending this series? Oh, I know! A modified lyric:

I was going to give this band a full review
But my enthusiasm waned, and I can’t bear the pain
Of doing what I don’t wanna do

That sounded a bit more mean-spirited than I intended, didn’t it? Nah – love ya, Townshend. You were a real fascinating artist to follow, y’know that? I may not always have agreed with the decisions you made or the way you went, but I can’t deny your band had one of the most intriguing career trajectories ever and reviewing it was a rollercoaster. I’m gonna miss this. Still, onto the next…

Author: tomymostalas


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