Oh Jethro Tull are getting on my nerves. That no good Ian Anderson continues to write about bad people! In Aqualung
his characters included pedophiles and prostitutes. As if that weren't bad enough he started questioning the Church! Then that flamboyant flutist crosses the line in Thick as a Brick
- his main character is a free thinker
! And if Pat Robertson has taught us anything, it's that the Church must not be questioned and thinking must be like a woman must be - submissive and close-minded. The album's follow-up A Passion Play
has no noticeable blasphemy, but it's safe to say that Jethro Tull worship Satan. Then War Child
comes along, ooh the nerves of those musicians! I haven't seen the lyrics, but judging by the title Jethro Tull are encouraging children to fight wars. This cannot do! Children must not fight wars. And war is just bad. Except when America does it, of course. But Jethro Tull are British. It's easy to tell, since the lead singer is wearing a silver codpiece on the cover, like all modern day British men do.
Though War Child
has attacks on critics and religion like previous Jethro Tull albums, it's a departure to a new, confusing sound, and album. This album signals standard form song again, after two albums of one continuous song each. Ironically enough, even though it's a return to conventional song forms, the music more awkward than ever. After the harsh criticism Tull received for A Passion Play
, the band somehow got the idea that what critics thought was important. Even though they went out of their way to licks the critics' gonads, the result still wasn't anything they liked. In fact, the critics liked it even less than the album they'd be griping about before. It's a cruel world out there.
Usually when a band wants to win back critics, they simply just rip off whatever made them popular. Instead, Jethro Tull clumsily incorporate classical, Elizabethan, and Celtic music into the songs. Like the songs off Aqualung
, the core of the songs is either Martin Barre's overdriven guitar, aggressive, but not that much, like Tony Iommi on tranquilizers, or his acoustic guitar, for folksier pieces. Unlike Aqualung
, even Barre's best playing can rarely keep the songs running smoothly. Sealion
shows this, starting well enough with Barre's heavy, twisting guitar and Anderson's airy flute aggressively bouncing off each other. As soon as the violins and ridiculous sounding accordion, the song loses its touch, switching between fast paced rock, and an Irish jig. Yes, we all love to stumble around piss-drunk in bar to a good Irish jig every now and then, but here it sounds preposterous, and directionless. Queen and Country
sounds like Anderson showed up inebriated at a bar mitzvah and started singing, the band and composer David Palmer's queer arrangements stumble on each other. The song could've been good, but the song's structure of seemingly repeating the same thing over and over again wears one's patience, as does the pseudo-Polka.
Through the tides of unsuccessful combination of Jethro Tull, and erratically placed classical arrangements, War Child
manages to hit the mark once. With Ladies
, the band perfectly mix their folk influence, which is slowly becoming more prominent at this point in their career, with the violins that generally ruin the other songs they grace. The song ends in an upbeat jam, swiftly changing the tempo for a brief, energetic instrumental, a la The Arcade Fire (is it still cool to namedrop them") It also features a sopranino sax solo by Ian Anderson. He's no one-trick pony. Other songs that redeem this album are the slightly freeform songs, but are free from the odd orchestrations, and throw back to the style of Aqualung
. They may not be rich in abundance on War Child
, but they're worth checking out by any Jethro Tull fan.
is an inconsistent album, containing absurdly constructed songs that should've been left shelved, as many of the songs were from old sessions. The whole album in fact is a soundtrack to a discarded movie idea. That might explain the vague, and patchy theme (if there really is one, and if there's only one) of the album. Looking between the pointlessness and awkwardness of songs like Queen and Country
to the radio approved rocking of Bungle in the Jungle
, I can see why the movie wasn't picked up.