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Tommy [Original Soundtrack]

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1975

Review

Ken Russell's adaptation of the Who's rock opera Tommy has always been greeted with skepticism, and years after its controversial release, it remains a polarizing experience, due to its sheer garishness (no big surprise from Russell) and its bevy of guest stars. These two traits, unsurprisingly, spill over to the soundtrack, which is hardly just a re-recording of the Who album -- it's a gaudy reinvention of the album, padded with elaborate production twists until it's ready to burst. This, of course, means it's more musical than rock & roll, which sort of fits this project (it always was burdened by its pretensions), but still there's just so much of it and it's so over the top that it's hard to stomach for those that loved the inventive leanness of the original record. Plus, the movement of the recording is stalled by the music added to advance the visual narrative. This applies to longer instrumental sections, or new additions like "Bernie's Holiday Camp" which are neither dramatically or musically compelling. Also, much of this suffers from ham-fisted, contemporary production -- witness the weird, stilted funk of "Eyesight to the Blind," a flat-footed recording that isn't helped by a comatose vocal by Eric Clapton. And that's the problem with the production -- it's so overthought, so deliberately contemporary, that it's simply tedious as a record (and, to be frank, it wasn't all that much better with the film, either). Only Elton John's spirited rendition of "Pinball Wizard" (the man was at the top of his game in 1975, after all) and maybe Tina Turner's "Acid Queen" give this spark -- the rest is bland, the epitome of bad movie music.
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Overture from Tommy The Who 5:0
  3. 2 Prologue 1945 Pete Townshend 2:56
  4. 3 Captain Walker / It's a Boy Pete Townshend 2:34
  5. 4 Bernie's Holiday Camp The Who 3:42
  6. 5 1951 / What About the Boy? The Who 2:49
  7. 6 Amazing Journey The Who 3:18
  8. 7 Christmas The Who 3:37
  9. 8 Eyesight to the Blind The Who 3:20
  10. 9 Acid Queen The Who 3:47
  11. 10 Do You Think It's Alright? (1) The Who 0:55
  12. 11 Cousin Kevin The Who 3:7
  13. 12 Do You Think It's Alright? (2) The Who 0:44
  14. 13 Fiddle About The Who 1:37
  15. 14 Do You Think It's Alright? (3) The Who 0:29
  16. 15 Sparks The Who 3:5
  17. 16 Extra, Extra, Extra The Who 0:34
  18. 17 Pinball Wizard The Who 5:11
  19. 1 Champagne The Who 4:41
  20. 2 There's a Doctor The Who 0:22
  21. 3 Go to the Mirror The Who 3:57
  22. 4 Tommy Can You Hear Me? The Who 0:55
  23. 5 Smash the Mirror The Who 1:23
  24. 6 I'm Free The Who 2:36
  25. 7 Mother and Son Pete Townshend 3:26
  26. 8 Sensation The Who 4:36
  27. 9 Miracle Cure The Who 0:23
  28. 10 Sally Simpson The Who 5:12
  29. 11 Welcome Pete Townshend 4:13
  30. 12 T.V. Studio Pete Townshend 1:15
  31. 13 Tommy's Holiday Camp The Who 1:30
  32. 14 We're Not Gonna Take It The Who 4:47
  33. 15 Listening to You / See Me, Feel Me The Who 4:16

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