Youth in Quadrophenia

After listening to Quadrophenia, I thought it was about how life, and particularly the period of youth, has a lot of ups and downs. This is reflected in the rapid changes from heavy and angry to softer and more hopeful and then right back again. It sounded like the embodiment of a teenager that changes their mind more quickly than even they can comprehend. But then, I thought about how Quadrophenia came after “The Real Me,” in which Jimmy asks a preacher, a doctor, his mother, and himself who he was. In that context, Quadrophenia could also be read as Jimmy’s four sides of his personalities each fighting to come through. The whole song shifts so rapidly between different tempos and major and minor keys that each change can be seen as one of the four different ‘voices’ coming through.

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