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Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, a True Star CD (album) cover


Todd Rundgren


Crossover Prog

3.92 | 122 ratings

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4 stars It took Rundgren gonads of steel to put out an album like this after the critical and commercial success of Something/Anything? Here he experiments and the results are very consistent. On the next two solo albums and the first two Utopia albums he experiments even more but the end results are not as consistent. On A Wizard, A True Star he starts to really use synthesizers more. But by the time of Initiation he went overboard with the synths. "Flamingo" is an instrumental that is almost entirely done on synthesizers; this must have seemed way ahead of it's time in 1973. I love the sound and production here. Todd went out of his way here to modify almost every instrument except the synths and majority of the vocals. There are little oddball sound effects here and there which add to the songs.

All the songs on what was originally Side 1 are segued together but the overall effect is not really of an epic suite. Rather it is closer in feel to the 'Long Medley' of Abbey Road than say, "Supper's Ready". I really like how it starts with "International Feel" and ends with "Le Feel Internacionale", similar songs which bookend the first side of the album. On the latter Todd even sings: "Wait another year/Utopia is here". I'm sure no one in 1973 understood what he was talking about. Other highlights of the first half include "Zen Archer" and "When The Sh*t Hits The Fan/Sunset Blvd". The second half of this album is generally less 'proggy' if you will than what came before. The "Medley" of '60s R&B songs here is a real head-scratcher. Not horrible per se, but it does ruin the flow of the album. I'm not exactly familiar with all the originals but I think "Ooh Baby Baby" sounds pretty close to the Miracles tune. Rundgren was a guy who loved Yes as much as he loved Motown.

"Hungry For Love" is probably the worst song here(if your not counting the sound effects piece "Dogfight Giggle" on side one). But even this song has it's charms. "I Don't Want To Tie You Down" is a lovely song that is way too short. I find this song stuck in my head sometimes. The people who audition for American Idol should really listen to this song to hear a great example of emotional pop music. "Is It My Name?" is the most rocking song on the album. It includes one of my favourite lines from any song: "There is cause and effect/There's a reason I'm so erect". It also includes the completely '70s and un-PC line: "My voice goes so high you would think I was gay". The album ends with the great "Just One Victory" which he has apperently finished every concert with since this album came out. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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