Jethro Tull
Aqualung


4.5
superb

Review

by Thomas Bambaataa Ghidrah Towers USER (67 Reviews)
March 7th, 2006 | 16 replies | 3,241 views


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist


4 of 5 thought this review was well written

There are so many great characters and their fantastical realms in the world of the arts. Each are so memorable, and lovable, like Macbeth, a jolly fellow who becomes the ruler of his country through his good deeds, but the malice, and evil of his fellowmen prove to be his downfall. Or Lennie Small, a slow-witted man that proves that there is a place in society for men of his mental handicap with hard work, and determination. On the musical side of spectrum, there are many striking characters, Johnny B Goode, a rock star who dreams of a simpler life in the country, or Ziggy Stardust, a Martian who travels to Earth to show peace and love through clean living, and getting high off Jesus. But the most memorable has to be Aqualung, a homeless alcoholic with pedophilia. No, I'm serious.

Okay, maybe Aqualung isn't so lovable, but his song and of the same name album certainly deserve some love. Perhaps not from Pope Benny anytime soon, but there will be love nevertheless. The common misconception is that Aqualung is a concept album, either because the booze hound hobo Aqualung is also mentioned in Cross-Eyed Mary, or because side 2 is mostly an amalgam of all of Ian Anderson's sceptical, vicious views on organized religion. Despite the accumulation of religion hating on side 2, lead singer, songwriter and iconic flutist Ian Anderson has always maintained that they're "just a bunch of songs." Ironically, the Tull's next album would be Thick as a Brick, the first LP to be one continual song, and, surprise, is a concept album. This was a result of Ian Anderson's love-hate relationship with the critics, who were the ones who branded it as a concept album. Despite this, it was much love, and little hate for Aqualung.

Another misconception, from ones who've never heard it, is that Aqualung is one of those crazy classic progressive albums. Of course it's not, it's not even a concept album! It can't be pigeonholed into just a classic rock album either, it's somewhere in the middle. There are plenty of hard hitting riffs from Martin Barre, the most famous being Aqualung, an ominous one dipping the album immediately into a dark mood. But, like the album itself, the song goes through a melodic acoustic and piano lulls, then picking itself up again. None of the songs follow a structure, but Anderson's finely crafted melodies based on a mixture hard rock and folk maintain a familiar mood throughout each song. While earlier Jethro Tull was based on more traditional blues, here it's gritty, in a strange relationship with the gentle folk.

All the grittiness aside, the base of the songs is almost always just an acoustic guitar and a piano, like their other works of the surrounding time. It even sounds somewhat old fashioned, I kept expecting to hear a synthesizer or ridiculous amounts of percussion at some point, but the album stays true to its signature Jethro Tull sound. Despite the "wimpy" instruments being the base of Jethro Tull's musical pyramid, Aqualung is packed with energy. The apex of the energy is of course when Anderson whips out his firm, noodling rod and begins to fiddle about with it, emitting shrill bursts of energy in the passion of his touching... Uh, you know, the flute solos... They're short and somewhat unexpected, peeping in for a second like in the epic My God. Amidst the intensity of the song, a mixture of the distorted guitars and John Evans' booming piano, Anderson's flute pokes in and out, until finally the music comes to a halt and finally shines in a solo backed by Gregorian-like chants. Unlike Jethro Tull's other flute-oriented songs, the instrument's performance is less based on melody and more on sheer vigour.

Going through musically moody, dark songs, or the short solely acoustic ones, serving like interludes, and not focusing on the subjects of social outcasts or religious orders, Aqualung is neither a conventional, "classic" rock, or a conventional progressive rock one. Whichever anyone would want to classify it, it's in its own category of Jethro Tull's unique socially-charged fusion of folk, progressive, hard/blues rock. Maybe it's because everyone makes fun of Ian Anderson's flute that it gets misunderstood. They just wish theirs' was as big as his...



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Comments:Add a Comment 
pulseczar
March 7th 2006



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review is so queer.This Message Edited On 03.07.06

The Jungler
March 8th 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really like some of the songs on this LP.This Message Edited On 03.08.06

Storm In A Teacup
March 8th 2006



12688 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good job doing more progressive.
I really like this album, I don't know if it's exactly my favorite Tull album, but it's definitely close.
Got one question though: Is this a re-write?

pulseczar
March 8th 2006



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Kripes: No, this is this first time I've reviewed this, plus none of my re-writes get re-submitted.

masada
May 6th 2006



2733 Comments


SNOT IS RUNNING DOWN HIS NOSE

DEHR-NUH NUH NEH NEHR-NUH

:rock:

pulseczar
May 6th 2006



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aqualung was written about your dad :deadbeat:

sampz123
October 2nd 2006



13 Comments


ive never really listened to JT,is this a good 1st album?

pulseczar
October 2nd 2006



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this is a good place to start, since it's a well-rounded sampling of jethro's rock, folk and conceptual imagination.

MrKite
February 2nd 2007



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is good so far. The vocals are different without being too weird which is cool. I also really like the instrumentation. The drummers good. The flute is really nice.

Pluh
February 14th 2007



579 Comments


My dad got me into Tull when i was a kid, and i still can't get enough of them... Ian Anderson is just plain amazing. The man is just instrumentally skilled... props on the album.

MrKite
March 7th 2007



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really like this. but it's only a 3.5 if I counted the bonus tracks mine has. But I'm not.

Atilla89
October 31st 2007



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review for a great album. I love this line: "Maybe it's because everyone makes fun of Ian Anderson's flute that it gets misunderstood. They just wish theirs' was as big as his..." lol

Brf249
January 6th 2008



2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that review wasnt funny
about the album, its good, but i like heavy horses better.

Avirov
December 17th 2008



1206 Comments


Not their best. Not even fucking close.

PunkItUp
December 17th 2008



207 Comments


poopty album by a poopty band

flutes lol

OllieS
December 17th 2008



2024 Comments


My Dad always said how Hymn 43 was like, one of the heaviest songs imaginable back when this was released.



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