album? novel? rock? theater?

Psychoderelict (Atlantic)
Pete Townshend

By Kory Wilcoxson

Pete Townshend can claim bad timing if his newest rock opera, Psychoderelict, doesn't quite catch on. You see, it seems another little project Townshend was involved with called "Tommy" is staging a remarkable comeback as a watered-down Broadway musical.

That' s too bad, because despite a weighty, convoluted story, Psychoderelict has some of the better songwriting Townshend has done in a while.

The story is about a washed-up rock star trying to make a comeback by using virtual reality as a tool to reach millions of people. The star is constantly dogged by a female culture critic who concocts a plan to make his efforts successful by involving him in a controversy.

I could go on, butl really don't want to. It's not worth it. Suffice to say it's a complex story that is hard to follow in this format. Who listens to albums for the plot anyway?

The music is the key and Townshend's stadium anthem rock style is on full display with rockers like "English Boy" and "Don't Try to Make Me Real." He even tosses in a nice ballad, "Now and Then," which does what it can to add to the story.

Psychoderelict would be a much more listenable album if we didn't have to sift through the dialogue. If you're up to it, you'll find some decent music underneath.