Jethro Tull
Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young To Die!


4.0
excellent

Review

by vanderb0b USER (63 Reviews)
July 30th, 2010 | 17 replies | 8,881 views


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Jethro Tull proves that, if anything, they’re not too old to rock ‘n’ roll.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Since the dawn of time, music has been used as a means to tell tales and legends. From the ancient, long-forgotten songs of Greek bards, praising heroes of old, to the ballads of recent folk singers, such as Bob Dylan, story and melody were always intertwined. And yet, albums unified by one idea were quite a rarity in rock music, that is until the release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which pushed the notion of a concept album into the mainstream. Jethro Tull soon followed the example set by the Fab Four and released a group of three (some say four) concept albums, the last of which was Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young To Die!. One of Jethro Tull’s most straightforward 70’s offerings, the rock opera is certainly entertaining and pleasant, but despite moments of sheer genius, never becomes essential.

The album, which is, in all probability, at the least slightly autobiographical, tells of an aging rock star struggling to remain relevant among changing times. He sees how the music of him and his peers falls out of favor, and begins to fall into obscurity. Convinced that he is nothing more than a relic of past times, the man decides to commit suicide by getting into a motorcycle accident. As fate has it, the old rocker falls into a coma, only to reawaken during a revival of his music, in which he rises back to stardom.

Not unlike the protagonist, Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll certainly seems like a bit of an anomaly in Jethro Tull’s catalogue. Released at the time that Ian Anderson penned some of his most ambitious output and reveled in lengthy, multifaceted compositions, the straightforward, predominantly hard-rocking tunes of Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll certainly sound out of place. Jethro Tull sounds much more showy and self-confident than ever before on songs like the sanguine Pied Piper and the genuinely heavy Taxi Grab, and, unlike the somewhat ill-fated War Child, it never sounds forced.

Indeed, the main components of Jethro Tull’s sound are present, so the folky melodies, charming flute leads, bouncy bass lines, and the agreeable acoustic strums are still abundant, but they all sound much more boisterous than before, and the acoustic guitars are often joined by Martin Barre’s scorching electric leads. Even the softer numbers, such as the impossibly beautiful Salamander, are uncharacteristically energetic, with the sole exception being the painfully lethargic From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser.

Unfortunately, despite the unexpected vigor found throughout Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll, very little is as exciting as the band’s previous highlights. Aside from Salamander, along with the sweeping, monumental title track and the transcendent The Checkered Flag (Dead Or Alive), with it’s awe-inspiring string crescendos, very little is as memorable as the material off of Aqualung or Thick As A Brick. Additionally, the middle third of the album ends up sagging and meandering, with almost all of the most invigorating songs found towards the beginning or end of the album.

Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll is by no means perfect, and is not essential, but remains a fun listen that is let down by a small amount of filler. At the least, it proves that Jethro Tull, then nine years old, sure as hell wasn’t too old to rock ‘n’ roll.

3.8/5

Recommended Songs:
The Checkered Flag (Dead Or Alive)
Salamander
Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young To Die
Pied Piper



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Comments:Add a Comment 
vanderb0b
July 30th 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pt. 3 of the Jethro Tull discography. Was going to do this in chronological order, but I won't be able to get This Was for a while, so I decided to review this. Once again on the fence about ratings, this was almost a 4. Feedback would (as always) be great.

Jethro42
July 30th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent work vanderbob. I was not aware that it was a concept album, so I'll listen a little more carefully next time (I didn't listen to the album for years). I agree with your rec's songs. Dead or Alive is fantastic, I never realized how much until you reminded me, not long ago, and it's also nice to see Horslips in your album's recs. I'm looking forward to your next Tull' review. Keep it up, buddy.


vanderb0b
July 30th 2010



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Jethro! The album is conceptual, but it's a bit hard to tell from the lyrics. The CD supposedly comes with a comic strip explaining the story. I've been liking that Horslips album lately, thanks a lot for rec'ing it a while back.

Jethro42
July 30th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers, man!

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 30th 2010



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i have this album but it didn't impress me the way Songs From The Wood or Minstrel In The Gallery did.

Excellent artwork, i wish i could find it as a t-shirt lol.

Pos'd.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

Mixiegirl
September 22nd 2010



37 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I grew up listening to this album...on my mom's original record! The album artwork inside is a wonderful way to keep track of the album's theme. Jethro Tull music lies on two continuums...rock and elf music. This album is high on rock, low-medium on elf. Voivod, Songs from the Wood and Minstrel in the Gallery are both much higher on the elf continuum...many people prefer their Jethro Tull that way.

Favorite Songs: Pied Piper, Big Dipper

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 30th 2011



20036 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album.

Didn't like it that much at first but it's really grown on me.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 30th 2011



20036 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

True, I should probably 5 Minstrel.

PagePlant
June 7th 2012



44 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe the fact that this album is less "progressive" contributes to it's listenability. The title track here has a better acoustic melody than anything on "Minstrel". Chequered Flag is also better than Cold Wind. Overall, Ian composing skills is still weak here, as It was since Warchild.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
June 7th 2012



20036 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Overall, Ian composing skills is still weak here, as It was since Warchild."

I think if anything this album proved that Ian Anderson was just as capable of crafting fairly simple yet memorable rock songs as he was of writing more complex, progressive and folk oriented material. I also think Anderson shows better compositional skills on this album and on Minstrel in the Gallery than he did on Warchild.

MrGumby
April 12th 2013



16 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I quite like this album more than i thought i would. The only songs i don't like is "Big Dipper", "Taxi Grab", and "Pied Piper" otherwise it's great

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2013



20036 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rules.

Dead or Alive is soo good. One of Tull's most underrated songs.

omnipanzer
April 12th 2013



21442 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

BUT I AM TOO YOUNG TO DIIIIIIIIIIIIIE

Digging: The Ettes - Shake the Dust

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2013



20036 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Title Track is awesome too.

sonictheplumber
August 25th 2013



4275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

smokin weed

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2014



20036 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Barlow's drumming on this album is so fucking good.

TWIGtheWONDERKID
May 24th 2014



699 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It’s not the best Tull album, but it’s not the worst either. It’s somewhere in between . . .

The original album cover has a comic strip drawn on it. It pulls the album’s story together:

http://greatcaesarspost.blogspot.com/2008/04/comics-in-wild-dave-gibbons-meets.html

I wouldn't know it had a story without the comic strip.



Digging: Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin



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