The Who have officially announced Who, their first album in 13 years, with the new single Ball & Chain.
Pete Townshend first wrote and recorded the song solo as Guantanamo, which was featured on his 2015 compilation album Truancy: The Very Best Of Pete Townshend. The Who have been playing the song live on their 2019 The Who’s Moving On! Tour, treating audiences at Wembley Stadium and Madison Square Garden to rousing renditions.
Who, which is 11 tracks long and co-produced by Townshend and Dave Sardy, is the band’s first new record since 2006’s Endless Wire. The album “is almost all new songs written last year, with just two exceptions”, Townshend said in a statement. “There is no theme, no concept, no story, just a set of songs that I (and my brother Simon) wrote to give [singer] Roger Daltrey some inspiration, challenges and scope for his newly revived singing voice.
“Roger and I are both old men now, by any measure, so I’ve tried to stay away from romance, but also from nostalgia if I can. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Memories are OK, and some of the songs refer to the explosive state of things today.”
Townshend also shed some light on the timeline of the album’s recording: “I made new home studio demos of all these songs in the summer of 2018 using a wide collection of instruments old and new. We started recording as The Who in March 2019, and have finished now in late August just in time to make some vinyl… Maybe even some cassettes… Ready for release in November.”
“I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia in 1973,” Daltrey added in a statement of his own. “Pete hasn’t lost it, he’s still a fabulous songwriter, and he’s still got that cutting edge.”
Who arrives November 22 via Interscope Records.