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




Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 285 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars THE ULTIMATE!!! Headed by pop ikon Todd Rundgren, this album's birth was written on the wall if one listens to the 1st side of his 'A Wizard, A True Star' album (1973) and the strangest parts of the 'Todd' album (1974). Rundgren's psilocybin intake of the era just had to lead to what is one of the ultimate progressive rock albums of all time.

An exhausting listen, these 4 songs clock in at just under an hour, running through nearly every progrock trick and hallmark in this vast, versatile genre. You get cosmic overload on "Utopia" and "The Ikon", peaks of anger and valleys of mellow on "Freedom Fighters" and "The Ikon", frightening funk on "Freak Parade" and "The Ikon", indulgent excursions from every member and seriously damaging riffing on "The Ikon". and every damn thing else under the sun on "The Ikon". Clearly, "The Ikon" is a monumental piece of work, 30 minutes of total excess that's still built like a real song, with recurring themes and a sense of solid structure, written by a genius that just happened to find 5 other impossibly talented members to help him realize this bizarre, bizarre vision.

It's amazing it works as well as it does. Built of zillions of parts, it remains focused at every turn. Especially impressive considering how much material Rundgren was churning out in the early '70s. Prolific and just a little bit nuts, Rundgren did the impossible with this album, topping nearly every other prog band out there in terms of instrumental dexterity and epic scope. Without ignoring the other incredibly-talented members, this is really the album that makes Todd Rundgren a god to me, even if I only like a small fraction of his total output. His beyond-McLaughlin guitar insanity, his warm, friendly vocal tone, and the fact that he wrote and directed this monumental, impossible collectoin of music...I am forever in awe. It's just too bad the initial lineup didn't last beyond this album. 'Ra' is definitely an excellent work of prog, but after that the band began mirroring Todd's more straightforward solo work, and the albums became less and less interesting. Though those later records have their own weird twists, they don't come anywhere close to equaling the sheer greatness of this gonzoid mindblower.

slipperman | 5/5 |


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