"We're Not Gonna Take It" Probably the first album I ever lusted after and eventually acquired solely on the basis of reading the overheated recommendations of a rock critic, the beginning of a lifelong habit for better or worse—I think in this case it must have been Nik Cohn's Rock from the Beginning. I admit that at first I found the vaunted "rock opera" a bit disappointing—when hasn't that happened as a result of the overheated recommendations of a rock critic? But over the years it has held up surprisingly well. Often under the charge of furiously strummed acoustic guitar and sweet harmonies, with Keith Moon's spastic and majestic drumming practically submerged in the mix, it's not nearly the noisy proto-metal headbanger you might expect from all the hoopla, endless live versions, and abominable Ken Russell movie. Poised just before the band basically raised the curtain on recorded versions of exactly that with the vastly more assaultive Live at Leeds, this sounds practically like a folk exercise in this day and age and is effectively their transition point from the goofy Kinks wannabe popfare of Sell Out and the like. And its moment is a lovely one. Calling it an "opera" in any kind of way at all is your basic misnomer, of course, in spite of its "Overture" (5:21) and "Underture" (10:09). But so what? It got my attention anyway, pretensions and all. And if I rarely take a listen to it any longer, doing without for years and even decades at a stretch, that only underlines the surprise and pleasure over how good it still sounds.