10. Face Dances (1981)
This was the first Who album released following Keith Moon’s 26-pills-too-many demise of 1978. Face Dances, out in 1981, of course suffers the loss of one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. Still, Kenney Jones — of Small Faces — is no slouch, providing a decent backbone for the Who’s pop directive.
Here, the Who is playing to the newly established MTV market and it works, sparingly. “You Better You Bet” is the cousin (or maybe even half-brother) of Townshend’s solo, “Let My Love Open The Door.” (In fact, “You Better,” was the fourth video played on the network’s first day.) It’s a fine piece of 1980s nostalgia, but the song — and the record, itself — is more comparable to A-Ha than Led Zeppelin in the grand scheme. “The Quiet One,” an Ox tune, rocks hard but is a dead-ringer for Thin Lizzy — it adds to the confusion. Though it would be almost impossible for the band not to be in disarray at this moment in their history.