The Who - My Generation (1965), 4/10

The energy in rhythm and vocal sound separates The Who from the competition right away with the two opening tracks of My Generation sounding more like proto punk than anything before, apart from perhaps The Sonics. Keith Moon’s drums are a prominent component of the band’s sound and contribute some of the most interesting passages heard here. Still, there are some truly awful songs in the mix such as “La-La-La Lies” and the abysmal “Much Too Much” that kill all momentum built on the first half of the record. Then the infectious “My Generation” and the again rhythmically interesting “The Kids Are Alright” build up this lost steam before “Please, Please, Please” and “It’s Not True” kill it once again. The last three songs breathe life back into the album just before its finish, but by this time it is too late to salvage the quality of the listening experience. The garage rock sound is clear from the production but also from the approach to songwriting. The title track comes out of nowhere to provide a needed shift in ethos and has the most interesting vocal delivery in its stutters and punkish delivery, yet hardly stands apart for its musicality. The album as a project is generally a mediocre and uninteresting early iteration of the British invasion and fits into the prevailing reliance on existing rhythm and blues to carry otherwise awful musicianship and compositions, just marginally standing out for some stronger singles. This mixed bag of awful and passable rock music makes My Generation unremarkable and pale in comparison to its competition. The indulgent performances remain the only facet of the music that begins to redeem a hodgepodge of good and terrible songs.