“I don’t care / I know you’re gonna hate this song!” is quite a way to begin your new single. That’s what Roger Daltrey howls at the outset of “All This Music Must Fade,” the latest from the Who’s first album in 13 years, WHO. He goes on to reflect on his own inevitable disappearance from the cultural memory: “All this music will fade / Just like the edge of a blade.” It’s the album’s opening track, and they’ve chosen well because it leaves a strong impression.
Contrary to Daltrey’s messaging, I don’t hate “All This Music Must Fade” at all, and its quality does not indicate a band in decline. This is a better approximation of the old Who’s Next bombast than he and Pete Townshend should be capable of at this late date. By now I’ve come to assume that when our remaining legendary rock dinosaurs release new music, it’s not going to hang with their old stuff. But if I went to see a Who show I wouldn’t feel like this or lead single “Ball And Chain” was obligatory.
Hear “All This Music Must Fade” below.
WHO is out 12/6 on Polydor, just in time to buy it for your parents for Christmas. Pre-order it here.