The Who's "Tommy" and Seeing Your Entire Future

9:59 PM





Listen to Tommy with a candle burning and you'll see your entire future.

That's what Anita (Zooey Deschanel) says to her little brother, Will (Patrick Fugit) in Cameron Crowe's wildly popular (with hipster wannabes) film Almost Famous (2000). Back when I acquired my Grandfather's old record player, one of the first albums I bought was The Who's rock opera "Tommy", which I originally wanted with the sole intention of attempting to reach the nirvanic clarity as promised by Ms. Deschanel. And I never tried it. Which brings us to 6 years later. The record player is usually preoccupied with either Grateful Dead's "American Beauty" or the soundtrack to 1955's Oklahoma!, a film obsession I can't really explain even to myself. So today I shook things up and put on "Tommy" and lit a candle, because why not? It's a nice sentiment - the thought of gaining some kind of existential lucidity, thanks to a piece of plastic, and a fire-hazard. So there I was, about to head into my fourth year of University, without a clue as to what I'm going to be doing a year from now and deciding it's time to see my entire future (or facepalm at the naivety of 15-year old me succumbing to the vague hipness of it all?). The album itself is a rock opera - so we're getting a narrative stretched out over multiple songs, and in this case, multiple records. The story being told is that of Tommy (duh.), a deaf, dumb and blind kid who goes through a few shitty timelines. I rocked out to "Pinball Wizard" which was expected. Or required? Both. Mostly I felt sleepy but I'm going to blame that one on my generations's inability to focus on one thing for more than two minutes. I'm thinking Zooey Deschanel's advice, like much of her twee-ness is a stretch and/or a straight-up lie. No entire futures being seen here. But in my Almost Famous mindset, I suppose I was most aware of the third track on the first album, called "1921". The first lines are "I feel like 21 is gonna be a good year." Although clearly referring to the year 1921 and not the age, as someone who just turned 21 years old a few days ago, I think I needed to hear Roger Daltry  telling me in sing-song that this year is gonna be good. 

Did I see my entire future? No. Is "Tommy" still a fucking great record? Yes. Did this blog post accomplish anything? Probably not...but I really wanted to make a spinning record gif. 

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