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THE INDIVIDUALIST

Todd Rundgren

Crossover Prog


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Todd Rundgren The Individualist album cover
2.20 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tables Will Turn (8:51)
2. If Not Now, When? (4:42)
3. Family Values (6:42)
4. The Ultimate Crime (4:37)
5. Espresso (All Jacked Up) (5:51)
6. The Individualist (7:30)
7. Cast the First Stone (5:06)
8. Beloved Infidel (4:11)
9. Temporary Sanity (6:24)
10. Woman's World (9:32)

Total Time 63:26

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Todd Rundgren / Vocals, all instruments, composer, producer, engineer

- Mary Arnold, Ed Bishop, John Ferenzik, Jesse Gress, Ann Lang, Tom Nicholson / Chorale on track 3

Releases information

(1995) CD Digital Entertainment DEE6000

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TODD RUNDGREN The Individualist ratings distribution


2.20
(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
12%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)
12%

TODD RUNDGREN The Individualist reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Wow, needs at least 5megabytes of hard disc space

I knew I had this album, but when I went to play it, it still took me half an hour to find it. The reason, it comes in an odd sized cardboard box which does not lend itself to storage alongside the usual size of CD case. The box is clearly designed to sit easily along side the other software packages of the period, thus emphasising the advanced features of the disc. Ironically, those advanced features, including interactive facilities allowing the listener the opportunity to remix and re-sequence the album, are what now dates the product. The requirement that the user upgrade to at least Windows 3.1 with 8 mb of Ram and 5 mb of hard disc space for example makes the album seem far older than its 12 or so years. The implication is of course that the "advanced" features will become obsolete much sooner than the music itself, indeed the disc will not run on my far from current PC.

This is the second and final album credited to TRI (Todd Rundgren Interactive) rather than simply to Todd. With a title like "The individualist" it is fair to assume that Todd does everything himself, and with the exception of some help with the choir vocals on one track, this is indeed the case. Todd writes, sings, produces, engineers and plays all the instruments throughout the album.

We should though turn to the music itself, which can be listened to on a conventional CD player in the usual way. Fortunately, the rapping which blighted the previous "No world order" is kept firmly in check, although it is not eradicated altogether. The opening "Tables will turn" has a small section for example, but really in the form of reciting the coming lyric. At almost 9 minutes, this is the second longest track on the album, although it remains a pretty straightforward mid-paced pop rock song throughout. While the song is a bit of a grower, it is pretty standard Todd fare.

"If not now, when?" initially sounds like it is to be a softer Rundgren ballad, but the soft verses counterpoint with some pretty hard repetitive choruses. "Family values" is the only track to feature anyone other than Todd, a group of vocalists adding some gospel style mantras to the song. The lyrics deal with a range of family type issues and their implications for the wider community. "The ultimate crime" continues in a similarly cynical way suggesting that the ultimate crime is such things as "living in discontent", "to think its just a dream", "being irreverent", and "dropping the sacrament", but ultimately "not to care". This is the first song on the album to afford Todd the opportunity to give one of his impassioned vocal performances, and he takes the opportunity superbly, sounding rather like Scott Walker at times.

"Espresso (all jacked up)" has some truly nonsense lyrics quite unbefitting of Todd even at his corniest worst. The song is rather like one of 10CC dodgy, all too clever numbers which leave me completely cold. The 7 minute title track which follows opens with some light rap leading to an irritatingly repetitive chorus. The phrase "I am the individualist" is repeated at least 28 times during the song! The slightly jazzy instrumental arrangement of the track is actually quite appealing, but this is one occasion where Todd should have kept quiet. "Cast the first stone" is equally as repetitive, to the extent that the lyric sheet in the CD booklet abbreviates the words of the title to Ctfe to save space. The song is an offbeat number with heavy, almost punk, overtones.

"Beloved infidel" changes the mood completely, with mellotron like keyboards and deep bass providing a lush blanket for a beautiful soft piece. The acoustic guitar solo and strong melody are reminiscent of Dire Strait's "Brothers in arms". "Temporary sanity" maintains the less harsh mood while returning to Todd's pop orientation. At 9 minutes, "Woman's world" is the longest track on the album and the longest Todd has recorded for some time. While the song has a slightly more complex structure, it remains a fairly standard Rundgren number. Instrumentally, there are similarities with the final Genesis material but yet again the relentless repetition can get somewhat tedious.

While "The individualist" is undoubtedly an improvement from "No world order", it is on a par Todd's "Lite" reworking of that album. While it is pleasing that the use of rap has been kept firmly in check this time, the constant overuse of repetition distracts from what are otherwise a reasonable selection of Rundgren compositions. Certainly not the best place to start with Todd, but fans should find something worth hanging on to here.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#199106) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Todd's previous album "No World Order" was an old time low (together with "A Capella" from the artist. This is at least how I felt while listening to these albums.

To tell you that this "Individualist" is of a great style would be exaggerated, but at least it is not as negligible. Still, the long and rapping opener ("Tables Will Turn") is none of my liking. But overall, I am not a deep lover of Todd's music. The link with prog has always been VERY thin as far as I'm concerned. And this album won't change my mind for sure.

Average pop-rock songs, some funky flavours ("Family Values") are NOT what you can expect from the X-prog genre (unless you consider this as a basket bin in which you can throw whatever makes sense).

Some good ballads (as the man used to write much earlier in his career) like "The Ultimate Crime" or "Beloved Infidel" are bringing some fine transitions but I can't stand at all a tune like "Espresso". Nor the beat, not the text are memorable. Press next is the best thing to do. Believe me.

On top of these meagre features, this album is EXTREMELY long (over sixty minutes) and after all, quite boring almost all the way through. Another attempt to rap with the avoidable title track is just a useless and long addition.

The more I listened to this work, the least I could find any great moments in here. The loudly "Cast The First Stone" is definitely not alien to the feeling. Another "press next"? Yes!

All in all, I don't like "The Individualist". Two good songs (which are culminating at nine minutes out of sixty three) aren't sufficient to raise this album to a higher level than the one star rating in terms of prog. Maybe two as an overall rock style one (but this is quite generous while you have listened to "Temporary Sanity").

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#266005) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010

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