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Utopia - Oops! Wrong Planet CD (album) cover

OOPS! WRONG PLANET

Utopia

 

Eclectic Prog

3.04 | 27 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Though it followed close on the heels of "Ra", "Oops! Wrong Planet" is a marked departure from their previous work, eschewing longer epics for short, sometimes noisy songs with layered harmonies and a certain amount of Beatlesque charm. With TODD RUNDGREN involved in writing most of the material, the result often feels like a RUNDGREN solo album from the same period (e.g., HERMIT of MINK HOLLOW). Far from the spacey subject matter of their earlier work, Oops! is concerned primarily with social criticism: "Rape of the Young", "Gangrene", "Back on the Street." Nothing on here is as heavy-handed as "Hiroshima", but you'd have to look forward to Swing To The Right to find another UTOPIA album so cynical. As one would expect, any dozen songs from TODD (even when he cowrites them with the rest of the band) are bound to include some winners: the soulful ballad "Love Is The Answer", the caged fury of "Trapped" and the energized "Love In Action" are all top-shelf TODD. True to the UTOPIAn model, each member takes their turn at the microphone with better-than- expected results. Highlights from this side of the band include the pretty "Crazy Lady Blue" from WILLIE WILCOX (again suggesting shades of ELO), "The Martyr" featuring KASIM "KAZ" SULTON, and a funky turn from ROGER POWELL on "Abandon City." Because little light shines into this album, some who prefer RUNDGREN in the role of spiritual optimist might want to opt out of Oops!, though the album is careful to close both "Sides" on an upbeat note.

It's worth noting that this album marked a crossover from prog rock to edgier pop music, thus starting the second phase of UTOPIA's career ("Ra" was something of a transition between the two). Fans of TODD/UTOPIA would do well to add this to their collection at some point, since there are a handful of moments (like the neat ending on "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell") that represent pop music at its most sublime.

daveconn | 3/5 |

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