This afternoon’s workout calls for the workout I had initially planned this past Sunday in the rain but ended up being a distance run instead; 3 x 15 minute progression intervals (8.35k). Time to cinch up the apple sack, layer on some warm base layers and load up the tough guy anthems and get ‘er done. Today’s inspiration comes in the form of the ‘It’s Hard‘ album by The Who.
This album was released in 1982 and therefore the last album to feature john Entwhistle who died in 2002. It was also the final Who album with drummer Kenney Jones, as well as the last to be released on Warner Bros. Records in the US (released on Polydor instead).
There are two differing opinions around this album. “I hate it!” was lead singer Roger Daltrey’s opinion of it, in stark contrast to Pete Townshend’s view who (if you’ll pardon the pun) felt that the band had been musically born again and revitalized. The same difference between the opinions of Daltrey and Townshend appeared among critics and fans. Rolling Stone called it The Who’s best since ‘Who’s Next‘, while others were less impressed. Some fans ate it up, others quickly spit it out.
Like the “chocolatey chew” that exists at the center of a Tootsie Pop, I lie somewhere right in the middle.
‘It’s Hard‘ is a headstrong album that contains as much angst, bitterness, and determination as their most heralded albums. Plus, it’s aptly named for today’s run…which was also hard. It is identifiably very 80’s, considering the synthesizers that fill the album; but it should be noted that The Who were among the first to innovate the use of the synthesizer in the first place (see ‘Who’s Next‘, recorded eleven years earlier). But the range of emotions overwhelm even the synthesizers. The entire album is an anthem…which is what I was hoping for and needed today.
Among these anthems is ‘Eminence Front‘, the closest thing to an audience-embraced hit on the album, a true tough guy song that I strategically placed in the middle of the album when I knew things were going to begin turning shitty. And they did…immediately turning off Bernard Rd. and west on Nigh Rd. heading up the long gradual incline to Ridge Rd. However, I hung on for a personal best along this portion of road as well as the climb itself up to the top of Nigh Hill.
The other success was in covering more ground this time around (almost a quarter of a kilometer) over the same 45 minutes worth of progression running in my last two outdoor attempts at this workout…with my final kilometer being sub 5:00min/km.
But back to the album. Other notable tunes include the album opener ‘Athena‘, ‘One At a Time‘, ‘Cooks Country’, Dangerous‘ (another great tune for cadence running) and the closer ‘Cry If You Want‘. And, believe me, I almost did.