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Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, a True Star CD (album) cover

A WIZARD, A TRUE STAR

Todd Rundgren

 

Crossover Prog

3.98 | 91 ratings

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Walkscore
4 stars His Best Solo Album, although not as good as the first Utopia album.

It is amazing to think this was made right after 'Something/Anything'. While the latter is light and poppy (and yet also too long!), 'Wizard' is innovative, provocative, soulful, counter-cultural. Made around the same time as the first Utopia album, this album also features Moogy Klingman on keys. The two albums are complementary, yet totally different. While TR's Utopia is a symphony of highly complex, virtuoso but beautiful music all flowing together perfectly, Wizard involves a collage of short and often whimsical fragments thrown together in order to disrupt and provoke, often with humour. Utopia is by far the higher achievement, and a far more musical album. But Wizard also deserves special recognition, as only on some of Zappa's earlier albums (eg "We're Only In It...") does this kind of collage work so well. The first side starts and ends with "International Feel", which clearly shows its lineage to the music on Utopia, with very short snippets filling the space between them, some great, some that don't work so well as music, but all of which maintain the collage momentum. The second side contains longer and more soulful pieces, some of which seaugue or collage, others which stand on their own. The hit from this album, "Sometimes I don't know what to Feel" is a great Rundgren soul tune. But the real standout here is "Just One Victory", probably Rundgren's best solo song, and often played live by Utopia later on. In between, Rundgren has a few humourous but good-quality tunes, such as "Hungry for Love" and "Is It My Name?", and a four-part medley of some of his favourite soul pieces (one of which - "Cool Jerk" - Rundgren put into 7/8 time instead of 4/4). While the musicality is up and down on this album, it is Rundgren's most inventive, and contains some of his best solo songs. I give it 8.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is on the higher end of 4 PA stars.

Walkscore | 4/5 |

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