Aqualung: 40th Anniversary Special Edition
By David Chiu
Aqualung, Jethro Tull’s fourth album from 1971, was the band’s breakthrough—certainly a departure from the blues feel of their first record This Was. This music from this unique record– featuring the unmistakable flute playing and singing of leader Ian Anderson–is certainly is indicative of the progressive rock era. But underneath it all is a work that draws on universal themes—as Dom Lawson pointed out in the liner notes of this new reissue–that are still hold true four decades later: homelessness (the famous title track), societal decay (“Locomotive Breath”) and especially critiques of the religious establishment (“Wind-Up,” the haunting “My God”); the outstanding cut on the record is the rollicking “Hymn 43,” a commentary on religious and moral hypocrisy. Amid the angstful aspects of the record are folkish and reflective moments, particularly the lovely “Wond’ring Aloud.” This new edition also features a disc of some previously unreleased alternative versions from the original album as well as other cuts from the era (“Life’s a Long Song,” “Just Trying to Be”).