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SOMETHING/ANYTHING?

Todd Rundgren

Crossover Prog


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Todd Rundgren Something/Anything? album cover
3.25 | 54 ratings | 6 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side one
1. I Saw the Light (2:56)
2. It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference (3:50)
3. Wolfman Jack (2:54)
4. Cold Morning Light (3:55)
5. It Takes Two to Tango (This Is for the Girls) (2:41)
6. Sweeter Memories (3:36)

Side two
1. Intro (1:11)
2. Breathless (3:15)
3. The Night the Carousel Burned Down (4:29)
4. Saving Grace (4:12)
5. Marlene (3:54)
6. Song of the Viking (2:35)
7. I Went to the Mirror (4:05)

Side three
1. Black Maria (5:20)
2. One More Day (No Word) (3:43)
3. Couldn't I Just Tell You (3:34)
4. Torch Song (2:52)
5. Little Red Lights (4:53)

Side four
1. Overture-My Roots: Money (That's What I Want) / Messin' with the Kid (2:29)
2. Dust in the Wind (3:49)
3. Piss Aaron (3:26)
4. Hello It's Me (4:42)
5. Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me (3:56)
6. You Left Me Sore (3:13)
7. Slut (4:03)

Total time 89:23

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Todd Rundgren / all instrumentation and vocals on sides 1,2,3

side four only
- Todd Rundgren / vocals,piano on 1 2 3 4,guitars on 5 6
- Mark Klingman / organ on 1 2 3, piano on 5
- John Siomos / drums on 1 2 3
- Randy Brecker / trumpet on 1 2
- Mike Brecker / tenor sax on 1 2
- Barry Rogers / trombone on 1 2
- Rick Derringer / guitar on 1
- Dennis Cooley / vocals on 1 2
- Richard Corey / vocals on 1 2 3
- Cecilia Norfleet / vocals on 1 2
- Vicki Robinson / vocals on 1 2
- Hope Ruff / vocals on 1 2 3
- Robbie Kogale / guitar on 2 3
- Stu Woods / bass on 2 3
- Jim Colgrove / bass on 4
- Amos Garrett / guitar on 4
- Ben Keith / pedal steel on 4
- Billy Mundi / drums on 4 5
- Gene Dinwiddie / tenor sax on 5
- Serge Katzen / conga on 5
- Bugsy Maugh / bass on 5
- Ralph Wash / guitar on 5
- Jim Horn / tenor sax on 6
- John Kelson / tenor sax on 6
- Brook Baxes / vocals on 6
- Anthony Carrubba / vocals on 6
- Henry Fanton / vocals on 6
- Edward Olmos / vocals on 6
- Hunt Sales / drums on 6
- Tony Sales / bass on 6
- Charlie Schoning / piano on 6
- Rick Vito / guitar on 6

Releases information

Bearsville records (2LP) K65501

Thanks to micky for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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TODD RUNDGREN Something/Anything? ratings distribution


3.25
(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
26%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (22%)
22%
Collectors/fans only (13%)
13%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

TODD RUNDGREN Something/Anything? reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A mere eight months after releasing the constipated duck that was "Runt - The Ballad of Todd Rundgren," this double-LP came out and more or less saved this gifted artist's career. While it still isn't the all-out foray into the world of progressive rock that many of his later solo efforts would be, the improvement over the dull, lifeless album that preceded this one was so startling that it initially seemed like it could be from a different musician sharing the same name. Obviously not satisfied with the results that came from building songs on top of hired drummers and bass players' rhythm tracks, this time Todd filled three quarters of the project with no one but Mr. Rundgren himself. That's right, he played and sang EVERYTHING. And regardless of what you might think of the material, that's one amazing feat to pull off.

I've always loved the photo on the inside of the cover. It shows tall, lanky Todd from behind, standing in his crowded living room, greeting the dawn of a new day with arms outstretched and fingers displaying triumphant V's. He is surrounded by instruments and tape machines and I've always admired that picture with envy because it portrays an artist totally immersed in his element, free to create and record whatever his fertile mind conceives. Back then I thought that if I could stand inside his self-contained shoes fulfillment would be mine. The 23 original tunes that appear on this remarkable album honestly and truly reflect the essence of a prolific virtuoso that has finally set himself free to express himself without regard to public opinion or criticism. And the joyous aroma that so characterized his debut is alive and thriving throughout.

On the extensive, informative LP sleeve insert TR gave each of the vinyl discs a descriptive title. Side one is "A bouquet of ear-catching melodies," and it starts out with the near-perfect hit single, "I Saw the Light," his signature song that streaked straight up into the top 20 and gave the album a wealth of exposure. It's a well-written, three-minute ditty that has all the necessary ingredients for chart success and it's hard to fault a guy for making a bold entrance like that. Gotta love those booming tom-toms, too. "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" follows and it's a terrific, flowing ballad that should have been an AM radio smash, as well. And it's not just some soft piece of fluff as the driving bridge section proves. The poignant lyrics that convey his frustration over not being trusted by his lover are timeless. The unbridled enthusiasm that he generates in "Wolfman Jack" puts the listener in the front seat of a Mustang convertible barreling down Route 66 with the radio blastin'. It's pure Philly soul combined with a traditional rock & roll mentality and it literally soars. The TR horn section is tight and the vocal performances are brilliant. Unfortunately, the momentum takes a dive on the next tune, the plodding "Cold Morning Light," despite its alternations between 4/4 and 3/4 time signatures. "It Takes Two to Tango" is an up-tempo pop number but sitting through it's like waiting for a TV commercial to end so you can get back to your show. Things improve on the blues-tinged "Sweeter Memories" as its dramatic arrangement provides a stage for Todd to display his mastery of the guitar and he doesn't fail to impress.

Rundgren calls side two the "cerebral" side and it also happens to be the most prog-related. It starts with a brief but wholly entertaining pause for what Todd tells us is a game of "sounds of the studio," followed by the album's only instrumental, the playful "Breathless." It's a fun, melodic sprint with plenty of synthesizers and inventive changes to delight along the way. It reminds me of some of ELP's more whimsical detours. "The Night the Carousel Burnt Down" is a highlight that features very progressive keyboard sounds and the colorful carnival atmosphere he constructs is fantastic. I particularly like the swirling, almost psychedelic texture of the ending. He tosses in a light-hearted studio trick at the front of "Saving Grace" to keep things loose but, other than the altered piano effect, the tune is just average Laura Nyro-styled pop. The low point of the proceedings comes in the form of the love song "Marlene." It's not horrible but way too syrupy for my tastes. Next TR indulges in a bit of silliness with "Song of the Viking" and it gives weight to the adage that a little levity goes a long way. The odd "I Went to the Mirror" is the most experimental cut of all. It's a somewhat free-form, multi-level excursion into his psyche that suddenly rises up at the end with some kickass slide guitar. Here Todd poses the intriguing question, "If you went crazy, would you know it?"

Side three is entitled "the kid gets heavy" and that's at least true for the opening and closing cuts. "Black Maria" is a high-quality, heavy-handed rocker that garnered a lot of well-deserved FM airplay and proved that Rundgren still had a big pair in his Levis. His vicious guitar slices and dices its way through this bulldozer of a song and the power he generates all by himself in the studio is extraordinary. Most five-member bands would give an arm to be able to record tracks this tightly coiled. "One More Day" is one more nondescript pop balloon that goes nowhere and really has no place here. The barnburner that is "Couldn't I Just Tell You" comes charging to the rescue, though, and it's a killer. Its passion and energy never let up for a nanosecond and the dual guitar lead and the multi-tracked acoustic guitars that leap from the speakers before the final chorus are devastating. It may not be prog but it's great rock, nonetheless. "Torch Song" is next and the title says it all. It's just piano and vocal but the airy keyboard background is as cool as the other side of the pillow. Rundgren unleashes his metal monster on the hard-edged, revved up "Little Red Lights" and the flanged guitars and constant stereo panning give this stomper a surreal aura while it drag races through your brain.

Side four is what he anoints a pop operetta called "Baby Needs a New Pair of Snakeskin Boots" and it's a hit-and-miss affair. Gathering a collage of friends and studio cats together in three separate sessions, Todd evidently felt it prudent to dispense with his normal D.I.Y. protocol, throw a recording party and let the chips and stray noises fall where they may. After treating us to a brief glimpse of his roots via a couple of raw live recordings of his early garage combos, he and his cohorts serve up a winner with the soulful "Dust in the Wind." The combination of the Brecker Brothers on horns, Rick Derringer on guitar and a committed chorale of singers make this a gem. What doesn't work on any level is the song that follows, an ill-advised descent into low-brow, adolescent humor titled "Piss Aaron." Maybe it was funny in the control booth but it falls flat on its face here. And then comes the chart-topping "Hello, It's Me" that everyone in radio land seemed to adore immensely. It's okay, but I vastly prefer the slow, vibe-infused groove that characterizes the version he did with Nazz on their first LP in 1968. I'm just sayin'. "Some Folks is Even Whiter than Me" is one very hyperactive number with some striking guitar and sax solos spinning up through the frantic melee but, alas, it's followed by yet another throw away song, "You Left Me Sore," that fails to thrill. But all is not lost. TR & company leave us with a rabble-rousing rave-up in the form of the irreverent but boisterous "Slut" in which Todd warbles the infamous, crowd-answered refrain of "S-L-U-T/she may be a slut, but she looks good to me!" It may be more of a fraternity house anthem than a work of art but you can't deny the infectious spirit that engulfs the wild session.

"Something/Anything" still doesn't have enough prog elements to warrant more than a solid 3-star rating in my book but that doesn't mean it's not an album that proggers can't enjoy. The amazing fact that the majority of the songs were produced solely by the talents of one individual still blows my mind to this day. That admirable accomplishment is progressive enough by itself. This collection of tunes put Todd Rundgren in the public eye more than any other and it remains his biggest seller to date. He may have had a lot of labels attached to him during his long career but underachiever wasn't one of them.

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Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Todd sees the light

After two albums originally credited to a band called Runt (but on re-issues simply to Todd Rundgren), "Something/anything" was the first album to be credited to Todd as a solo artist right from the point of its release.

The album proved to be a turning point for Todd in many ways. Bravely, he put out a double album, playing all the instruments on all but the final side. Despite this and the associated premium price, this would prove to be Todd's best selling release, and is regarded by many as his finest hour (and a bit). While not yet investigating the prog territories which are of most interest in these parts, the diversity of styles adopted here, the wonderful arrangements and the superb instrumentation all go to make up and album to be admired and cherished.

The contents can crudely be summed up as a mixture of power pop, soul and simple pop, but to do so is also misleading as it disguises the fine structure of the complete piece which sets the album apart. Indeed, it is the attention to detail which makes all the difference here. In their raw state, there must have been a danger that the songs would simply have resulted in another "Ballad of Todd Rundgren". Thankfully though, Todd has taken the time to craft each one into a delightful piece of sophisticated pop. The songs on the album are all brief, with just one track running to (slightly) over 5 minutes. As such, there is little room for complexity or experimentation, they are tight and very much to the point.

The album opens with one of Todd's best known numbers, "I saw the light". This would provide Todd with a hit single on both sides of the Atlantic, although in the US "Hello it's me", which also appears on the album, would enjoy even greater success. Thereafter, on side one we have a succession of retro (60's) inspired soul, harmony pop and power pop.

Each of the album's four sides groups together songs which in Todd's mind have a similar theme or style. Thus, while side one is "A bouquet of ear-catching melodies", side two becomes "The cerebral side". On this side, we open with a couple oddities, the "Intro" consisting of Todd speaking about a game he's invented which involves spotting various forms of studio fluff on records. This is followed by a jaunty instrumental "Breathless" which might have been another hit single had it been released 10 years earlier. Thereafter, we settle down to a further batch of melodic pop songs and ballads for the remainder of the side. The odd track out for pretty much the whole album is "I went to the mirror", which closes this side. Here, the arrangement is much looser with no real discernible melody as such.

On side three "The kid gets heavy", the first track "Black Maria" hints at the style Todd would adopt on albums such as "Initiation" and Utopia's "Ra". Todd's lead guitar work is given greater limelight here among a brooding slice of riff driven rock. This is about as heavy as things get though, with subsequent songs (except the guitar loaded "Little red lights") reverting to the type which dominate the rest of the album.

The final side is covered by the title "Baby Needs a New Pair of Snakeskin Boots (A Pop Operetta)". Todd opens things up here and brings in a host of guest musicians to support him on each track. This makes for a rather odd mix of songs including rough covers of a couple of old Motown numbers. As such, there is little to warrant the Operetta tag, each song being a self contained affair. On the plus side, the anthemic "Dust in the wind" (not the Kansas song) is a pleasing piece of organ backed soul. This song was actually co-written by Todd with Mark "Moogy" Klingman, who would go on to join Rundgren in the original Utopia line up. The highlight of the side is "Hello, it's me", a delightful soft pop song with Beach Boys like harmonies and a tight melody.

In all, a fine album from Todd which laid the groundwork for his excellent albums which were to follow. While the music is primarily rooted in melodic pop, there is an appealing array of styles and sounds here which combine to form an album which can retain the attention of the listener throughout the 25 (or 26) songs it contains.

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Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars "Something Anything" is (rightly) considered as the first true Todd debut album as a solo performer (even if gets help of a lot of artist for the last leg of this work).

Under the "Runt" umbrella, he released a first album which was going into too many different musical styles to be coherent. The follow-up one was an almost ballad release which was quite a deception globally.

This double album is in some sort a combination of those two: we can see the brilliant composer and vocalist during the catchy hit " I Saw The Light", the ballad man ("Wouldn't Have Made?" and the syrupy "Cold Morning Light"), the soul and funky guy ("Wolfman Jack"), the pop artist ("Takes Two To Tango?"), the bluesy freak during the impeccable "Sweeter Memories".

This closes side one of the original work which sounds more as a collage and offers little unity.

The second side often depicted as more "adventurous" is somehow a continuation during which Todd explores different orientations ("Song Of The Vicking"), but the ballad mood is vastly represented as well ("Marlene") and is of course wonderfully produced. But the "Carousel" stuff remains pretty indigestible though. I can't really say that I was blown away with this second part.

This album shares little with prog to say the least. Straight forward rock music for almost a third of it, of which " Couldn't I Just Tell You" and " Some Folks?" are only few of the many examples available. You can add another good third of rock ballads and some other parts to fill the whole ("like the heavy "Little Red Lights"). Nothing too fancy.

I didn't get in touch with this album at the time of release. I only got acquainted with the man two years later. I didn't miss anything. Or did I miss something? I don't think so. Two stars for this very much US oriented rock album ("Piss Aaron" etc.).

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Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars This is often named as one of the greatest albums of all time. And it does have quite a few great songs on it. What it does not have much of is prog rock.

Todd released many of his finest pop songs on this double album set. I Saw The Light, It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference, Sweeter Memories, Couldn't I Just Tell You and Hello It's Me are all classic Todd Rundgren pop songs.

Little Red Lights is a fantastic guitar driven hard rock song, and Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me will get your toes tappin'. And Black Maria is one of the best guitar solo songs Rundgren ever released.

There are a few silly songs, like Song Of The Viking and Piss Aaron, but you have to appreciate Todd's humor to enjoy these.

Breathless, a mostly keyboard piece, is the closest to prog this album gets.

What's left is some okay songs, and some filler.

Maybe for it's variety, it's a great pop/rock album. But not a great prog album.

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Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I got this album all because of the song "Hello It's Me". For years, and I mean since I was a child i've enjoyed that song so much, but until only a few years ago I didn't even know who sung it. I must admit I was surprised when I checked into it and found that Todd Rundgren had created this track. Everytime i've heard this song on the radio over the years it has always brought back memories of being a kid of 12 years old or so when my mom would turn on the radio in the mornings while she made breakfast for us. It reminds me of sunshine, summer and a more innocent time. It stands out because my parents really weren't into music. Apart from my mom turning on the local AM radio station or playing her Gospel records there just wasn't any music in our household. My dad didn't even usually have the radio on in the car, I just figured he wasn't into music but found out much later that he did like Big Band music but he didn't have any records so I didn't know. So yes "Hello It's Me" brings back some good memories everytime I hear it. As far as this album goes I must admit it's a disappointment. Sure it's a pop recording and there's nothing really proggy about it in my books but for such an esteemed album by many critics I just thought it would be better.There are five tracks that I like while the rest are average or poor in my estimation. Now remember this is a double album too so wading through almost 90 minutes of less than spectacular music isn't exactly a joy just for that one song.

The other four tracks I like besides "Hello It's Me" are first off "I Saw The Light" which I have to be honest surprised me that this was a Rundgren tune. I honestly always thought a woman sang this song. I like it a lot and this was another hit for him. "Black Maria" has some welcomed organ and guitar in it and the vocals are more passionate in this the longest song on here. "Little Red Lights" has some attitude which is a nice change. Some great sounding guitar too. "Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me" is a highlight because of the horns. Cool tune.

Not recommended to Prog fans at all. Fans only. And I don't like the album cover (haha).

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Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Far more approachable, even in its bloated double album format, than the labyrinthine A Wizard, a True Star, Rundgren's Something/Anything is a deft and subtle cornucopia of progressively inclined songwriting which ranges from moments of delirium on a par with its infamous followup to pop perfection like I Saw The Light (a song which surely set the tone for the marvellous Matt Berry's own music career much more recently - indeed, Berry's been known to perform it live from time to time). An expert production job inspires Rundgren to essentially dare listeners to try and hunt down studio hiss, hum, and other hallmarks of sloppy production, but it's the solid compositions (often Rundgren's Achilles heel) which really push this one over the top.

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