Jethro Tull
War Child


2.5
average

Review

by pulseczar USER (67 Reviews)
March 16th, 2006 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist


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.

War Child 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.



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user ratings (180)
Chart.
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Storm In A Teacup
March 17th 2006


24029 Comments


[quote=review]a la The Arcade Fire (is it still cool to namedrop them?)[/quote]No, good review anyways. I've not heard this yet, and maybe it'd be best suited that way.

Zebra
Moderator
March 17th 2006


2647 Comments


My dad claims that this is the best Jethro Tull album. He always plays 'War Child' and 'Ladies' to try and convert me into a fan.
This was a good review. You keep things brief yet detailed.

ZoolanderHotept
March 17th 2006


33 Comments


Excellent review. Im not too familiar with Tull's discography but I can say this is my least favorite album in it.

R33f3rD0p3
March 17th 2006


1 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You whack suckas dont know good music. tull is one of the best bands still touring. and whats this about not thinking knowledge is power and if you dont think you cant obtain knowledge. why doesnt this site get someone who knows good music to write the reviews not some closed minded jesus freak. i agree though bungle in the jungle is a shitty song.This Message Edited On 03.17.06

pulseczar
March 17th 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

1) I am a huge Tull fan



2) That was all satirical. I'm an atheist.

temporary
March 26th 2006


207 Comments


Excellent review. I don't own this, and I plan to keep it that way.

ChineseChicken
August 22nd 2010


59 Comments


Bungle in the Jungle is amazing song. You old users are crazy!

ritchbitch666
September 6th 2010


17 Comments


long live tull fools!!!!!!!!

ritchbitch666
September 6th 2010


17 Comments


respect de tull!!!!!

13themount
January 31st 2012


173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lightweight but likeable.

MrSirLordGentleman
July 17th 2013


11872 Comments


one of the worst album covers ever

JamieTwort
November 8th 2013


26988 Comments


Do you ever get the feeling that the story's too damn real and in the present tense?
Or that everyone is on the stage and it seems like you're the only person sitting in the audience?

DoctorVelvet
March 24th 2014


179 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

album fucking sucks

JamieTwort
March 24th 2014


26988 Comments


It really doesn't.

JamieTwort
December 27th 2014


26988 Comments


What would you like for Christmas?
A new polarity?
You're binary and desperate
To deal in higher figures that lick us
With their hotter flame.


JamieTwort
December 27th 2014


26988 Comments


The Steven Wilson remix/reissue of this is very good indeed.

Titan
December 27th 2014


19088 Comments


I don't own this one

JamieTwort
December 27th 2014


26988 Comments


It's not really a real album to be honest. It was meant to be part of a much bigger project that involved a film which Anderson was writing, which never materialised.

Has some great tracks though. Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day is a classic.

MarvinLapsus
March 4th 2015


136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

OK, I might be a fanboy and this album might have played an important role in my teen years, but I really don't get all the criticism against this. "Too old to Rock & Roll" rated higher? I can't quite believe it. This album is something unique, production is rather brilliant, Barre has incredible moments, and Queen and Country is one of my favorite tunes from Tull. But hey, to each its own I guess.

JamieTwort
March 7th 2015


26988 Comments


This album is certainly unique.


On another note, Paradise Steakhouse really should have made it on the album.



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