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Todd Rundgren - The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect CD (album) cover


Todd Rundgren


Crossover Prog

2.06 | 36 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
2 stars It's easy to see how Todd's Tortured Artist Effect is one of the last albums of his to be reviewed here. This is a pure synth-pop album, which should sound warning bells for 99% of the Prog crowd. The year is 1982, and Todd's band Utopia had broken off with Bearsville records and signed to a short-lived independent label by the name of 'Network', and Tortured Artist Effect became Todd's last record for Bearsville too, and it kind of reflects his disappointment with the label's lack of support and inability to promote his (and Utopia's) music. Yet another entire D.I.Y. affair, this album offers 9 tracks, clocking in at just over 35 minutes (making it his 2nd shortest release, Mink Hollow is even shorter !! - ta Bob) which are heavily synth driven, no guitar solo's at all (only rhythm playing), and the Bass and Drums are quite loud. It isn't all negative, though - many of the songs are actually quite infectious and enjoyable. 'Hideaway' is quite a great song with a strong beat - very positive and uplifting - would've made a decent Utopia song. 'Influenza' is my favourite tune here, with a haunting melody and tastefully played synths. 'Don't Hurt Yourself' is a ballad, nicely done as usual, although the falsetto vocals can be irksome. The only interesting thing I can speak of regarding 'There Goes Your Baybay' (that's right, Baby, Baybay....) is the Sax playing. The second side opens with a cover of the Small Faces tune 'Tin Soldier' and features the most up-front guitaring on the album. It feels a bit out of place here but is well done and recalls the album 'Faithful'. 'Emperor Of The Highway' is a short, pompous romp on the piano which is inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan works, and again, Todd has done this much better with 'Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song' from the 'Todd' album of 1974. Next up is a song which fellow reviewer Chicapah has referred to as a 'guilty pleasure' - 'Bang The Drum All Day'. This is pure candy-floss and the bounciest thing since 'Flubber' !! The Bass solo section is a blast, he's got some strange reverb thing happening here. Amusing lyrics that fit the tune spot-on. The only thing is (and don't tell no-one), it isn't Prog at all. 'Drive' is a lagging, hard-rocker that lacks 'oomph', and the closing track 'Chant' is a somewhat strange synth dominated composition with weird melodies, but captivates in its own bizarre way. On one hand it's a nice enough Pop album, but there's no innovation or complexities that most of us wish to indulge in. Perhaps the most 'hurried' album Todd has been involved with. 2 stars.
Tom Ozric | 2/5 |


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