Album Notes - Jethro Tull - Aqualung
As you may have noticed, when a major anniversary of certain albums comes to pass, I use it as an opportunity to take a step away from the present-day and acknowledge brilliance, however many years after its creation. March 19 just so happened to mark 50 years to the day of the release of one of my absolute favorites.
For an album that has sold more than seven million copies worldwide, with multiple songs firmly lodged as classic rock radio staples, from a band that put out 21 studio records in a 35-year span, it might sound strange to say that I find this, their best seller and most acclaimed, to still be underappreciated. Yet, that's exactly how I feel about Jethro Tull's Aqualung.
When I see lists or hear discussions of best rock albums, rarely, if ever, is this 44-minute masterpiece in the conversation. Tull's leader, and everyone's favorite bug-eyed, on-one-foot flautist, Ian Anderson found gold on the Brits' fourth LP. Aqualung strikes a perfect balance combing acoustic and electric, hard and prog rock with folk, usually within the same song. Everything about it adds up to a sum that amplifies the individual pieces, all of it quintessential Tull. Even the accompanying artwork's shabby motif perfectly encapsulates the seemingly inherent minstrel aura of Anderson.
I can't tell you how many times I've listened to this album, whether on vinyl, CD, or mp3, the original version or the subsequent re-releases, and no doubt I will continue to do so in whatever form comes next. Aqualung might be from 1971, but it never gets old.