How The Who’s Pete Townshend Channeled His Newly Sober Disdain for Rock Star Life With ‘Eminence Front’

Music vlogger Noah LeFevre of Polyphonic takes a look at “Eminence Front”, an often overlooked song from The Who‘s late-career album It’s Hard, specifically noting how the song was written by a freshly sober Pete Townshend, who took a long look at his rock star life and wanted out.

LeFevre notes that the lyrics and the music express a profound change of personal direction. Both the lyrics and the underlying music succinctly express Townshend’s newly acquired disdain for the endless loop of personal destruction.

A keyboard sequence provides a catchy repetitive loop… though it’s easy to miss the sequence and the keyboard beneath it features frequent tiny variations. There’s the illusion of growth and slight changes but in the end, it all comes back to the same place. That repetitiveness is key to the song and it reflects the lyrical themes for Townsend the endless rock star life is nothing but a repetitive sham: wake up, snort coke, go to a party, snort more coke, and fall asleep as the sun is coming up…there are slight differences in the city you’re partying and the people you’re partying with but in the end it all feels the same it’s a desperate loop with no forward motion

Here’s the original music video from 1982.