Wednesday, March 09, 2005
As if by magic, a clever counterpoint to "Every Picture Tells A Story" . Where Rod Stewart's song followed the middle classes off on their travels around the world, The Who's "5:15" sits on the commuter train with those unlucky enough to be forced into work at an early age, where recreation is restricted to cinema dates, weekend trips to the coast or the country, or hanging around on street corners. After Roger Daltrey asks "Why should I care?" in the intro, the song dives straight into a blast of brass, a driving rhythm that suggests the hectic, dedicated pursuit of pleasure in those few free moments stolen from a prospect of drudgery: "Magically bored on a quiet street corner/Free frustration in our minds and our toes/Quiet storm water m-m-my generation/Uppers and downers, either way blood flows". And the plaintive, angry chorus: "Inside outside, leave me alone/Inside outside, nowhere is home/Inside outside, where have I been/Out of my brain on the five-fifteen". Along with Ray Davies, Pete Townshend seems to have captured the essential drudgery and frustration of homebound youth and found it a wellspring for fantastic, life-affirming music. It's one of those contradictions that you can spend a long time trying to come to terms with.