Aqualung – Jethro Tull (1971)

Album no. 205/1001

What do you get when you mix a stack of jazz flute, religious overtones and a hard-rock band? Jethro Tull!

Despite the band not really agreeing on whether it is or it isn’t, Aqualung is pretty widely regarded as a concept album about religion and some person called ‘Aqualung’. Not a superhero or anything, just a bum on the street. That’s cool.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: No. All the knowledge I have of anything related to an aqualung can be summed up by Ron Burgandy.

NK: I have heard Thick As A Brick, but not this.

Standout track

CL: Hey! That little flute bit is the riff from ‘Aqualung’! WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT. Well, now it all makes sense doesn’t it. Turns out Jethro Tull utilise a bit of the flute. AND BY GOD, YAZZ FLUE IS THE KING HERE. ‘Locomotive Breath’ (great name for a song with flute) is actually pretty banging! You know, I’ve never been much of a fan of a flute in contemporary rock music, but I tell you what – old mates Jethro Tull might be enough to convince me.

NK: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

CL: It’s not all catchy jazz flute though. ‘Mother Goose’ takes us back to our favourite musical time period – MEDIEVAL NURSERY RHYME TIME. I could’ve done without that.

NK: The title track with it’s big riff and the weirdo acoustic bits is the standout for me. This is very proggy, and I did not go for it.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: If you’ve got a lot of time, for one thing. It’s verrrrrrrry long.

NK: When you’re taking yourself way too seriously. First year of uni maybe? Actually, the perfect time to listen to this is when you’re going through your fedora phase.

CL: Ouch.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: The combination of pseudo-heavy metal with the classical influences and the flute is certainly something new. It sounds like it’d be terrible – and I was definitely skeptical going in – but I applaud what they were doing. Interestingly, the main songwriter Ian Anderson said one of his influences for the album was our scottish friend Bert Jansch!

NK: Prog prog prog. This is a ‘sort of’ concept album, but the extended jamming is there and so is the necessary level of pretension. Urgh.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: I’ll pick a couple of the songs, but not the whole thing. TOO LONG AND SORT OF CONCEPTUAL. 

NK: NOPE.

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Aqualung on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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