Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Todd Rundgren - Runt CD (album) cover


Todd Rundgren


Crossover Prog

3.13 | 57 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Visions of Utopia

"Runt" is generally acknowledged as the start of Todd Rundgren's solo career. Prior to this time he had been a member of the short lived band Nazz, but in 1970 he decided the time was right to establish a solo career. When this album was originally released however, "Runt" was both the album title, and the name of the band to whom it was credited. Only on later re-releases has Todd's name appeared as the credited artist. The band Runt was in fact a trio, the other band members being drummer Hunt Sales and bassist Tony Sales. All the songs are composed by Todd, who also sings and plays all other instruments.

Offering a good indication in terms of diversity of content, if not in terms of style, "Runt" is a curious mix of sounds and genres. The familiar tones of Todd are however ever present right from the opening, surprisingly downbeat "Broke down and busted". The song is a blues based number with some fine lead guitar. Things take an even softer turn with the following piano ballad "Believe in me".

It is only when we get to the single taken from the album "We got to get you a woman" that the pace is lifted. The song is a sort of early version of "I saw the light", with Beach Boys nuances and a catchy hook. "Who's that man" lifts the pace further through a retro rock'n'roll style song of the type Todd would revert to often on later Utopia albums.

"Once burned" is slow ELO type ballad with slightly distorted vocals and atmospheric organ. Side one of the LP closes with "Devil's bite", a meandering piece of light pop rock.

The second side of the album is the more adventurous, with just four tracks including a 9 minute closer. "I'm in the clique", which opens the side has a more complex arrangement with bursts of brass alternating with semi-chanted vocal refrains. The instrumental break is by far the loosest recorded by Todd up until this point, offering an indication of the direction he would explore on the first Utopia album. The track segues into the even more obscure "There are no words", which surprisingly (or not!) is an instrumental! Actually it is not so much an instrumental as a passage of ambient noise.

The three part medley "Baby let's swing/ The last thing you said/ Don't tie my hands" reverts to the accessible light pop style with Todd demonstrating his ability to capture a memorable hook and melody. The closing "Birthday Carol" also reveals a willingness on the part of Todd to look beyond the conventional pop boundaries. A brief quasi-symphonic opening leads to an orthodox blues guitar section. This in turn suddenly gives way to a soft piano ballad middle section, the guitar rock returning for the final part of the track.

Whether this was technically Todd's first solo album is largely academic. He wrote and sang all the songs and played all you hear with the exception of bass and drums. While there is a certain lack of continuity in the varied styles and sounds, "Runt" offers a good indication of the many directions Rundgren would travel in on future albums.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this TODD RUNDGREN review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.