Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25th, 2012 - You Better You Better You Beer

Some more from my vinyl collection for you today true beer and music believers!  Today I thought we would go with an all-time favorite of the Meista's: The Who's 1981 "Face Dances," which I am pairing with Deschutes Brewery's Inversion IPA.  (Sadly, this is comfort music and beer today as we had a death in the family... so this one goes out to my wife's grandfather, Herm who passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 99.  He was a very, very cool, old guy! I don't think he would have particularly liked my musical choice, but I think he would have liked the spirit of it.  This one's for you Grandpa Herm!)

In early 1980s (as with now) the music industry was a maelstrom; a swirling, decades old tumult of pop-drivel and flash-in-the-pan, overproduced wannabes.  Fortunately, during this time the Who (along with a handful of other classic rock bands) continued to attack the airwaves with crackling electricity of relevance, timelessness, and above all, integrity.  But this was not your father's Who.  Far "poppier" and more upbeat than past outings, "Face Dances" reflects a maturing band, navigating the transitional and stormy seas of that time between the late 1970s rougher-edged hard rock era and the slicker, more produced new-wave pop of the early 1980s.  Though not as "heavy" and rebellious as classic '60s and '70s Who, "Face Dances" is a collection of wonderfully written, perfectly executed tracks, played with precision, sensibility, and honesty.  Roger Daltrey's voice is in fine form here... maybe the best of his long career.  Pete Townshend's songwriting is as wonderful as always: poignant, deep, sometimes whimsical, he really outdoes himself with the lyrics - "I got your body right now on my mind/ But I drunk myself blind to the sound of old T-Rex/ To the sound of old T-Rex, oh and Who's Next!"  And of course his guitar work and keys are flawless, though maybe not as heavy as earlier works, the depth is breathtaking.  And John Entwhistle's bass work and writing is phenomenal.  His song, "The Quiet One," which he sings, is a fun, fast-paced ditty and one of the more rocking songs on the album.  This is also the first album by the Who sans Keith Moon after his untimely death.  Not a small, acrobatic drum kit to fill, Kenny Jones (Small Faces/Faces) does a fine job keeping an upbeat rhythm with nice fills and pumping thrills.  The big hit, "You Better You Bet" along with "Did You Steal My Money," "How Can You Do It Alone," "Daily Records," and straight-ahead rocker, "You" are all wonderful, timeless tracks that helped redefine the Who at that time as a modern rock band, relevant, important, and impactful.  When I'm not in my usual metal mood, "Face Dances" is a great album to spin, especially with all the vinyl pops and hisses coupled by the complexities of the music!  Oh, and how about that kick-ass album cover with portraits by Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Clive Barker (yes, THE Clive Barker!), Peter Blake, among others?!  Fantastic!!

I've paired Deschutes Brewery's Inversion IPA before so I won't go into a lot of detail here on the nose, flavor, and color of the beer, but I think it works wonderfully well with "Face Dances" as it is a big, bold, hoppy beer with complexity, crispness, and a clean, smooth finish!  It is also one of my favorite style of brews, which is important when pairing with a favorite album. So, what are you waiting for?  GET SOME!  Cheers!

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