Quadrophenia by The Who

Number 17 on my countdown of Top 40 Albums is Quadrophenia by The Who.  Depending on where you draw the line between Concept Album and Rock Opera, Quadrophenia is arguably the most musically cohesive and successful rock opera ever written.  More refined and emotionally complex than TommyQuadrophenia is an 80 minute musical powerhouse with some of the most successful theme work of the past half century.  Musically, the album manages to capture both progressive rock ideals as well as a bare-knuckle, near violence-inducing British rock ‘n’ roll sound.  The marriage of these two seemingly discordant musical styles masterfully supports the emotional thread of the rock opera’s protagonist, Jimmy.  Jimmy is caught between idealistic morals with undertones of economic social justice.  However, at the same time he is consistently violent and using drugs.  He is a young man who has no sympathy for the previous generation, yet does not fit in to the mod culture he wishes to be a part of.  He is confused, disappointed, angry, and his heart is split between wildly varying principles.  This emotional state goes hand in hand with the angry yet elegant musical score The Who expertly drapes behind intricate and meaningful lyrics.  This album is truly a masterpiece.

Similarly to Jars of Clay’s If I Left the Zoo, I believe the best way to convey the success of Quadrophenia is to provide an example of it’s genius.  Here is the opening to the rock opera (sans “I Am the Sea”) including “The Real Me,” “Quadrophenia,” “Cut My Hair,” “The Punk and the Godfather,” and “I’m One.”  As a side note, “I went back to the doctor” is a phenomenal opening line, and if you haven’t heard it the song “Bell Boy” is a personal favorite from this record.

There you have it!  Number 17 of the Top 40 Albums countdown is Quadrophenia by The Who.  If you are interested in the other installments in the countdown, take a look at the links below!

18. Momentum by Neal Morse

19. If I Left the Zoo by Jars of Clay

20. Learning to Breathe by Switchfoot

21. Who We Are Instead by Jars of Clay

22. ‘Til We See the Shore by Seabird

23. Fight the Tide by Sanctus Real

24. Eye to the Telescope by KT Tunstall

25. Queen by Queen

26. Farewell Old Friends by Bleach

27. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall

28. New Way To Be Human by Switchfoot

29. Sheer Heart Attack by Queen

30. Feats, Don’t Fail Me Now by Little Feat

31. Who Killed…… The Zutons? by The Zutons

32. The 2nd Law by Muse

33. Eat a Pickle by O’2L

34. Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles

35. Chase the Sun by The O.C. Supertones

36. Goldie’s Last Day by PFR

37. Hi-Fi Revival by The O.C. Supertones

38. Sound of Melodies by Leeland

39. Oh Tall Tree in the Ear by Roman Candle

40. Kaleidoscope Heart by Sara Bareilles

Thanks for reading!  If you are keeping up with the countdown, I have officially caught up with my schedule!  Next week, I will be taking a break from the countdown to do a celebratory blog post in honor of my mom and sister’s birthdays!  You can expect to see number 16 the second week of August!  Thanks again for reading, and have a great week!


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