This is especially obvious on Townshend's 'Street in the City.' Completely orchestrated except for his acoustic guitar, this song is a breathtaking departure. Spun around a lyric about activities on a city street on a given day, the orchestra builds and builds the tension until punctured by a single gasp from Townshend.
Throughout his career, Townshend has always shown the willingness to stretch himself and attempt to expand the conventions of rock music (for example, the ambitious rock opera Tommy). However, on this record, he kept his ambition at arm's length. Driven simply by acoustic guitar and harmonica on 'Misunderstood,' the singer laments that he would love to be the type of person who could destroy a person with just a glance. However, by the end of the song, he has to admit that he is so simple that people can see through him like he is made of glass.
The best song on the album, however, is one of Lane's. The lovely ballad 'Annie' has the charm of an Irish folk song. Driven primarily by accordian and violin, Lane's vocals contain an awkward grace that only a mother could love.
Throw in guest appearances by Eric Clapton and Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts, and this album is really a hidden treasure. The public does not get to hear many recordings like this anymore. It is a shame, but maybe that is what helps make this effort so special.