The Who
A Quick One


3.5
great

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (132 Reviews)
July 25th, 2015 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1966 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More like a goddamn weird one.

Chapter II: All on Board

My Generation was more than just an album when it came out back in 1965... it was a game-changer. The way it mixed soft R&B covers and pop rock tunes with a previously-unheard hard rock edge and raw production was ingenious, and the affectionate nods to the Mod subculture were icing on the cake. It seems as though I'm exaggerating when I state that The Who's debut was a decade-defining piece of work, but it truly was. So how would these London boys follow it up" Well, how about giving songwriting roles to every band member while becoming a hell of a lot sillier in the process"

What came of this question was A Quick One, one truly bizarre and inconsistent foray into more cheery and poppy territory. Here, we get everything ranging from blues rock, quirky comedic tunes, the band's first "rock-opera" track," folk rock sections, and more. It becomes clear very quickly which musicians really shine in the songwriting department, however: Pete Townshend and John Entwistle. In fact, the latter created perhaps one of the band's most iconic and entertaining songs in the form of "Boris the Spider"; aside from containing vocals that likely (and probably inadvertently) influenced a legion of death metal singers, the song's cheesy horror lyrics just add to its fun camp value. Curiously, Entwistle's other contribution "Whiskey Man" is a pretty standard fast-paced blues rock track compared to the amount of personality "Boris the Spider" had, but it's still a decent addition nonetheless. Of course, just as with My Generation, Townshend still manages to be the real driving force writing-wise. The title track, which is easily his best contribution on here, is an excellent prelude to the band's future rock operas; it also ends up being among the first progressive rock tunes with its varying sections and relatively long length of nine minutes. The whole thing is very elaborate, especially in terms of Roger Daltrey's vocal harmonies and Keith Moon's busy percussion, as the lyrics essentially give the listener a prelude to the story of the 1969 record Tommy. Seriously, this was some ambitious stuff in the mid-60s, especially considering the fact that it predates other proto-prog gems of the decade such as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Days of Future Passed.

Unfortunately, the biggest mistake of A Quick One was letting Keith Moon assist in any part of the songwriting process. He might be an amazing drummer, but his songs are seriously lacking compared to what the other members bring. First, we get an uninspired folky power ballad with "I Need You," which has some extremely obnoxious and raucous drumming during the chorus; it's so raucous that it literally overpowers the production itself. The other song he wrote might just be the single worst track to ever be released by The Who, that tune being "Cobwebs and Strange." Remember what I said about this album being really cheery" Well, "Cobwebs and Strange" basically manages to sound like a marching band performance at a Disneyland parade with its bright horns and stiff, angular drumming; that is, until the song turns into a disjointed mess of disparate musical ideas. The second half of the song is pretty much just a glorified Keith Moon drum solo, but it's not very engaging when combined with such an ugly jumble of instruments and styles. As for Roger Daltrey, his sole contribution "See My Way" is a decent pop song that thankfully tones down the dynamics of the album along with the previous Pete Townshend number "Don't Look Away." However, despite the weird mishmash of styles present in A Quick One, I have to give it credit for at least having some sort of overall focus and knowing what it is: a cheesy pop rock record. It often doesn't take itself too seriously, which is why incredibly fun songs like "Boris the Spider" and the title track were able to fit in so well with the experience as a whole. Basically, my advice is to enjoy the Townshend and Entwistle tracks and try to forget the Keith Moon tracks ever happened; I know that sounds harsh, but Moon is simply better off doing what he does best: drumming. In the end, if you don't want to stick with the familiar Who classics and want to delve into something a bit more quirky and strange, this is a pretty good bet. Despite how unusual and flawed it is, A Quick One is actually really fun and a refreshing oddball in the band's catalog.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
July 25th 2015


11770 Comments


Great review, pos'd. Gonna be keeping up.

LepreCon
July 25th 2015


5459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agree with this hard. There's a few kickass tracks- especially the t/t- but the rest is like wtf?

Pch101
July 25th 2015


115 Comments


Warning: this could be somewhat wrong, as it is coming from memory.

My understanding is that the songwriting was divided due to a deal negotiated by manager Kit Lambert that required everybody in the band to contribute two songs in exchange for an advance from the music publisher.
I believe that the intent was to get money for everybody in the band, as they were a bit strapped. They were losing a fortune on the cost of replacing of smashed guitars and drums, and the band knew that it had to give up a lot of the profits from this album to their American producer with whom they had a dispute, which could explain why they needed the advance and why songwriting was the way to get it. Rock and roll is ultimately a business, for better and for worse.

Titan
July 25th 2015


19523 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice write up dude....unfortunately, i don't own this one

Ocean of Noise
July 25th 2015


10661 Comments


BOOOORIS THE SPIDER

creepycreepycrawlycrawlrcreepycreepycrawlycrawly

Digging: Telepath and Hong Kong Express - ?? ? ??

Friday13th
July 25th 2015


6924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

CELLO CELLO CELLO CELLO CELLO CELLO

KILL
July 28th 2015


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude sweet but the drumming on cobwebs makes it rule alone and i need you is catchy as balls i mean its def all over the place but i love it for that. i actually listen to this one more than my generation these days

doctorjimmy
August 21st 2015


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the title track, boris the spider, so sad about us and heatwaves are my favorites off it. First album ever to feature an opera of sorts, though. Imagine that!

KILL
August 21st 2015


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mini opera!

Maladjusted
January 22nd 2016


120 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Title track and whiskey man. The rest of it imitates the beatles and they dont succeed

Digging: Whitney Houston - Whitney

Friday13th
January 22nd 2016


6924 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Boris doesn't imitate the Beatles.

claygurnz
January 22nd 2016


5379 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Couple decent tunes here.

doctorjimmy
January 25th 2016


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah da fuck with the imitation claims. boris is a song I couldn't never imagine the beatles doing. as for the more straightforward pop tracks, have the beatles a monopoly on pop? Not to mention that the Who's branch of pop is actually power-pop, not the pure pop of the beatles.

onionbubs
January 25th 2016


11596 Comments


Fun fact (doesn't really have to do with boris the spider) but mccartnely wrote helter skelter with i can see for miles in mind.

Digging: Anberlin - Devotion

Maladjusted
February 17th 2016


120 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album has and other songs in it except boris.This is the feeling i got listening to the whole album,that imitates Beatles.Get over it

KILL
February 17th 2016


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude every band ripped off the beatles g3t 0ve5 i7

SgtAenema
February 29th 2016


484 Comments


this is 50 years old this year :/

KILL
June 10th 2016


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

little girl guide why dont you stop your crying?

here comes ivor the engine driver to make you feel much better!

zakalwe
June 10th 2016


28030 Comments


Twisted as fuck but you can't knock 'em.

KILL
June 10th 2016


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

66 and already writing paedo anthems, they were ahead of the curve



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