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Utopia - Todd Rundgren's Utopia CD (album) cover

TODD RUNDGREN'S UTOPIA

Utopia

 

Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 236 ratings

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WFV
4 stars Prog pomp at it's most preposterous.

This album is in your face, no holds barred prog. It's like Rundgren and his crew are literally trying to break new ground with their instrumental attack, but to my ears they only dig themselves deeper in the hole of their own creation. I'm no Rundgren fanatic, in fact I'm really only familiar with Something/Anything, and of course Bang the Drum all day. So I've let him sit, marinating, for the right time to get acquainted. I've heard Todd referred to as a rock and roll maverick, which I like the sound of.

Still It's hard for me to get over judging him based on hearing Hello It's Me in the dentist office when I was ten or so. One listen to that song and it was obvious to me Todd is a pop master - that melody always stuck with me after thirty years. Of course it's not prog so I really want to judge his material on it's own merits without bias.

I'm not sure of his ambitions as a progster though. I think this album embodies half of what prog was developed upon - grandeur. A sound bigger than a sextet. The first track is really good prog, the second Freak Parade is a highlight for me, to me it sounds like a solid Frank Zappa song from that period with Todd Rundgren on vocals. Freedom Fighter is just there and the Ikon is a manufactured overblown epic that rivals any other prog song in pomp factor. I can definitely see how some out there think it is the greatest epic in history but I think it's required prog listening albeit an exercise in over the top.

The definition of a three star album for me in my collection, but required listening at some point for any serious prog fan out there. Obviously Todd Rundgren is a big name in the music biz and that lends legitimacy to this record that many one off prog albums don't have.

WFV | 4/5 |

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