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




Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 258 ratings

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4 stars Is it Prog? Rock? Funk? Electronica? Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes. And it is over the top in almost every way.

I am not a Todd Rundgren guy and this is the only album I have of any of his many projects. And I am not a guy who buys much 70's stuff anymore. But I heard a cut off this wild album and knew I had to have it. The first cut was actually recorded live and is the most bombastic piece on this bombastic album. It is raw and the whole band just kicks it. It is instrumental for the first 7 minutes or so, with some hard-edged guitar and wild keyboard runs that will have you grooving. The bass really carries things along and the drums are let loose. Great live cut.

Things slow down a bit on Freak Parade as the piano is given its time to shine next to the synthesizers. You get that electronic feel as well in certain parts. The funk is brought in about as well as white dudes can lay it down. And there are good melodies throughout. Freedom Fighters is the one short cut that may have gotten radio play. I certainly don't remember, as I was nine at the time. A good upbeat song with some nice harmonizing going on. Rundgren really lets loose on the vocal here.

The Ikon finishes things off. That's 30 minutes worth of finishing tunage. How they fit this 60-minute beast on vinyl had to be a major miracle. Recurring themes pop up. Fast and slow parts throughout but mostly fast. The melodies are nice and mostly upbeat. The funk is here again. Instruments are all given their chance to shine and many different sounds are produced with the keyboards and synthesizers, almost all of them memorable. Guitar and keyboard back and forth volleys crop up and they will let the bass get a turn or two.

Rundgren's pop efforts that made the radio were what always stayed with me from my youth and I was not really interested in checking him out. While he may have looked to the British prog gods of the day and stole their song lengths, that's about all he grabbed. I don't hear any Yes, Genesis, ELP or Floyd here. Just some groovy, melodic driven, over the top music that would appeal to many here. This is under eclectic and I can't beef with that as it is hard to pigeonhole. It has a raw feeling but there is a ton going on and is certainly tinged with genius. I own nothing else like it. 4.5 stars.

johnobvious | 4/5 |


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