“Who” says the more seasoned rock stars still don’t know how to have fun? For the famed iconic rock band The Who, they continue to reinvent themselves and appeal to both the more classic and modern generation of rock music with their forthcoming twelfth studio album simply titled Who released via Interscope Records on December 6. Their latest single “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise” mirrors a reinvigorating youthful free-soul vibe that has been consistently present on the three previous lead singles off the follow up to their eleventh studio album, 2006’s Endless Wire.
“I Don’t Wanna Get Wise” sees the now reduced to power duo that is The Who, lead singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist/singer/songwriter Pete Townshend, at a critical crossroads in their career where they are not confined to following a formulaic mode of creating music. The track opens with levity and upbeat guitar strings that tell an all-encompassing story of the legendary musicians’ ride to success that is full of mistakes, but also triumph and viably profitable success and acclaim. Their approach to the track is a testament to their longevity and creativity, incorporating their signature style with modern sounds that touch on electronic music textures embedded in that background of various spots on the track.
According to a press release, Townshend comments on the genesis of “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise” and where his headspace was saying, “I wrote this in a mid-‘70s style, like a song from an album like ‘WHO BY NUMBERS’. Warning: don’t get old. You might get wise’. As previously reported on mxdwn, “Lead singer Daltrey reflects on how high he believes the latest offering ranks in their discography, saying ‘I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia in 1973, Pete hasn’t lost it, he’s still a fabulous songwriter, and he’s still got that cutting edge.’”
The aforementioned press release furthers that included in the deluxe edition of Who are two bonus tracks that were once perceived by the group as “lost” tracks “… from the 1960’s – ‘Got Nothing To Prove” and ’Sand’. The former on the deluxe CD and the latter on the triple red, white and blue colored vinyl edition.
Of these tracks, Pete Townshend recalls ‘Both these songs are from the Summer of 1966; they would not have been rejected by the band members but rather by my then creative mentor, Who manager Kit Lambert. In 1967, when the song seemed destined for the bottom drawer, I did offer ‘Got Nothing To Prove’ to Jimmy James and the Vagabonds who used to support us at The Marquee in 1965. I remember playing him the demo at my house in Twickenham. They were still managed by Peter Meaden who had been so influential on me in particular in the short period he was our PR man in late 1964. Jimmy liked the song, and suggested making it more R&B, in a slower tempo, but nothing happened. I have a feeling Kit may have felt the song sounded as though it was sung by an older and more self-satisfied man than I was in real life. That would have applied to Roger too I suppose. Now, it works. Back then, perhaps it didn’t. Dave Sardy and I decided to ask George Fenton to do a “Swinging Sixties” band arrangement to make the song more interesting, but also to place it firmly in an Austin Powers fantasy. I love it”
To listen to “I Don’t Wanna Get Wise” stream below, via YouTube.