Empty Glass 8 ( 1980 ) Rough Boys / I Am an Animal / And I Moved" / Let My Love Open the Door / Jools and Jim / Keep On Working / Cat's in the Cupboard / A Little Is Enough / Empty Glass / Gonna Get Ya
After Keith Moon died in 1978, Pete sat down and wrote songs after believing his boozing and other problems were down to The Who being out on the road so often. His problems remained and 'Empty Glass' became his first solo album proper after Roger Daltery apparently felt the songs were too personel for him to sing them. As such, the four drummers, horns, keyboards and everything else here, effectively replaced The Who regular band-members. The Who were struggling for relevancy anyway after the underwhelming and occasionaly dated sounding 'Who Are You'. Pete wanted The Who to get back to what he felt was their true calling in the face of the urgency of punk - the other members of The Who seemingly didn't want to go down that road.
'Empty Glass' acheived a top 5 position on the US Billboard album charts, with single 'Let My Love Open The Door' hitting number 9 on the singles charts - the album has been certified Platinum. The Who meanwhile did reconvene for two albums during the early eighties, neither showing the energy or creativity of 'Empty Glass', The Who album that should have been. Let me clarify, the playing on this record is arguably the best of any Townshend project since 'Who's Next' way back when. Yes, the Sex Pistols producer is here and some rough edges have been smoothed, and yes, the synth lines place the sound clearly in the late seventies/early eighties - yet all can be ignored. The title track for instance contains genuinely great guitar from Pete throughout, both slower and louder sections. Another notable point about this album is the vocals - Pete sings emotionally and wonderfully - so much so - you rarely miss his 'usual' vocalist. Sure, some songs would have benefitted from being pure Who performances, that's only natural. I've never heard Pete sing so well however than he does on this long player.
We have some songs that were offered to The Who, one song reportedly offered to Bette Midler, and other assorted tunes that who knows - Pete wrote in the aftermath of Moon's demise. Ah, love the classic Townshend riffs during 'Gonna Get Ya', a poor song that he tried his best to enliven. Arguably the best song on the entire LP is the Ray Davies like 'Keep On Working' - "when a letter came... from Southampton way..... I must admit" etc. The vocal style here is not Who like, it's a new voice. Who was Pete pitching this tune towards, it can't have been The Who? The backing vocals pop up "keep on working, keep on working, KEEP ON WORKING" - then "there's another world...' sang winsomely. 'Jools and Jim' apparently was wrote about a couple of then famous NME magazine hacks - opens with a pure punk riff before speedily moving through a whole variety of Townshend gripes. It's short, entertaining and would have made for a thoroughly great Who songs - it contains more energy than either of the eighties Who albums put together. Sure, Townshend struggles with the high vocal parts - but we will forgive him.
A couple other things, the single 'Let My Love Open The Door' opens with a really cheesy Synth riff, has a cheesy chorus but the melody is strong - easy to see why this was a hit. I do worry about the opening track 'Rough Boys', lyrically this could have been thought out better - still, Pete had no qualms singing that he wanted to kiss his rough boys, or that he wanted to carry them home or that he wanted to 'get inside you'. Maybe Daltery heard this track and just shook his head and said, "Hey Pete, no WAY am I singing those lyrics" and that was the end of it all!