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Utopia Oops ! Wrong Planet album cover
3.15 | 67 ratings | 4 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Trapped (3:06)
2. Windows (4:17)
3. Love in Action (3:26)
4. Crazy Lady Blue (3:37)
5. Back on the Street (4:09)
6. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (4:33)
7. The Martyr (3:48)
8. Abandon City (3:49)
9. Gangrene (3:36)
10. My Angel (3:40)
11. Rape of the Young (3:11)
12. Love is the Answer (4:10)

Total Time: 45:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Todd Rundgren / vocals (1,3,6,10-12), guitar, sax (10), producer
- Roger Powell / keyboards, trumpet (8), vocals (2,8)
- Kasim Sulton / bass, vocals (1,5-7,10)
- John Wilcox / drums, vocals (4,9)

Releases information

Artwork: Fred Weiss & Ken Kneitel

LP Bearsville ‎- BR 6970 (1977, US)

CD Bearsville ‎- RNCD 70870 (1987, US)
CD Bearsville ‎- ESM CD 758 (1999, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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UTOPIA Oops ! Wrong Planet ratings distribution

(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (48%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

UTOPIA Oops ! Wrong Planet reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
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.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Oops, wrong direction!

The follow up to the excellent "Ra" and the second album by the long lasting four man Utopia line up, "Oops wrong planet" is a far more commercial offering, consisting of a batch of pretty straightforward songs. It does contain one gem "Love is the answer", a wonderfully moving piece which was translated into a successful hit single by England Dan and John Ford Coley. It stands head and shoulder above the others, as a Rundgren mini-masterpiece.

There is none of the prog experimentation or more complex tracks which appeared on previous albums here, the songs are all basic pop rock. In all there are 12 tracks, six on each side, the longest being a shade over 4 minutes. Each song has a simple verse chorus type structure. The album title bears no direct relationship to any of the songs (but see below), there's certainly no concept here, or indeed anything to link any of the tracks together.

The opening "Trapped" uses a favourite tool of Argent's Russ Ballard, where he takes a word and develops a song around it. It is effective when used in moderation, and this Rundgren composition is attention grabbing in its own way. Roger Powell takes lead vocal for his own composition "Windows", a softer piece which features Beach Boys like harmonies and some nice synth.

"Love in action" has some of Rundgren's most atrocious lyrics ever; "Yes you could be the last trace of the master race, the Nazis really send you to another place. Still you can't stop it, you can't stop love in action."

The song itself is enjoyable if lyrically superficial. John "Willie" Wilcox becomes the vocalist for his joint composition with Todd, "Crazy lady blue", a standard love ballad. The democracy extends to all four band members when bassist Kasim Sultan sings Todd's "Back on the street", an examination of the challenges facing a criminal when he has served his time, and is released back into society. The lyrics are certainly more thought provoking that the rather prosaic melody.

The first side is completed by "The marriage of heaven and hell", which does include the line "I must be on the wrong planet". While the first half of the song is a rather ordinary new wave type number, the latter half becomes a repetitive anthem.

Todd dominates the song-writing on the second side, collaborating with other band members on all but the last two songs. Kasim returns to centre stage to sing "The martyr", an impressive power ballad with the rest of the band proving strong backing harmonies. Todd adds a fine guitar solo to this, one of the album's stand out tracks. Powell brings out his trumpet for the funky, TSOP like "Abandon city". While it is good to see the band exploring other directions, this is one they should have overlooked.

"Gangrene" plumbs new depths lyrically and melodically, even the most deranged of punk bands would have passed on this turkey. Fortunately Powell and Rundgren restore some sort of order with "My angel", but it sounds like it would have been better placed on one of Todd's solo albums. Todd, whose voice ventures into the higher ranges, even plays sax on the track. "Rape of the young" includes some very pointed lyrics addressed to such people as "Mr. Exxon", "Mr. Chrysler", "Mr. General" and "Mr President". Once again though, the song itself is dull and prefunctory. The album closes with the aforementioned "Love is the answer" a Rundgren solo composition and pretty much a solo rendition. The closing section of the track builds wonderfully through a repetitious chorus making for a memorable conclusion to the album.

For me, this was pretty much the end of the road for Utopia. This album signalled that Todd and the rest of the band had completed their dabbling in prog, and decided to focus entirely on seeking commercial success. The decision proved to be misguided, as their sales continued to decline with successive albums. "Oops wrong planet" has just about enough of the good old days about it to make it worthwhile, but it is nothing like as impressive as the preceding "Ra". On the other hand, nothing which came after was even up to this standard.

Have a look at the band mug-shots on the rear of the sleeve by the way. They look like the wanted ads for a particularly surly bunch of criminals!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars By this, their fourth album, Utopia seemed to be tiring of progressive music. This one time highly progressive band released this album with only one truly prog piece, The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell. This doesn't diminish the rest of the album. there are some very good songs on it, some even come close to prog, just not the soaring compositions of the previous albums.

Trapped, Abandon City and Rape Of The Young all have a bit of progressiveness to them, and all are fine and entertaining songs. Love In Action, Gangrene and Abandon City are less prog, but still pretty cool. And Love Is The Answer is a classic Todd Rundgren ballad.

In my opinion, this is really the last Utopia album worth owning.

Review by DangHeck
3 stars Entering more definitively into the late-70s, Todd Rundgren's project Utopia had solidified into its formal 4-man lineup directly following their first with Ra. The changes seen here reflect numerous variables at play. Pop Rock was becoming heavier (Todd essentially the main force introducing American Power Pop to the world, years prior), Hard Rock was in turn becoming poppier and more radio-friendly, and clear here, years before the high-gloss of '80s Glam and Hair Metal, AOR (the vaguely termed Album-Oriented Rock radio-format-turned-maybe-genre) was ruling the charts. To my ears, there are still plenty of artful and progressive moments and signifiers throughout this and their next album, Adventures in Utopia (1980), both of which I've not listened through in a very long time. But also, in mentioning Ra, this being released the same year as that, their second, this album shows a pretty monumental shift in the band's sound. Tracks most similar, from there compared to here, if anything, are "Jealousy" and "Eternal Love", solid tracks in their own right, though signs of expected 'other' influence in the band. Todd Rundgren always wore his Philly Soul heart on his sleeve, for instance. It's over the top, but "Eternal Love" specifically is some of the shiniest, most wondrous (and, even then, progressive) love songs I know. He knows the inner workings of my heart haha. At least Oops! Wrong Planet possesses some of that same mysterious magic.

The whole affair kicks off with the very of-the-time AOR-style opener "Trapped", a track I've long been fond of. Lead vocals for verses are handled by bassist Kasim Sulton, providing his soft tenor before the solid, chugging heaviness of the choruses, lead vocally by Todd's well-matched, shredded yells. I think it's artful enough to please plenty here, although classic-era Proggers will likewise likely already be warned. Synth choices are plastic. If it matters that much to you, I would say this track resembles some of Styx's catalog around this same time. Nice, though, to get a searing guitar solo from Todd this early in the disc. Next, a reflection of those aforementioned 'other' influence, is the soft rock "Windows", written and lead by keyboardist Roger Powell. It's a lot less offensive than I remember--I'm sure I haven't heard this song in like 10 years haha--although, I'd rather listen to, I dunno, "You Can Do Magic" by latter-day, post-Peek America. It's a bit boring; they do a similar thing with significantly more success on the classic closer, "Love Is the Answer". The occasioned soloing from Todd and Roger are nice, but aren't gonna win you or me over any time soon.

Up next is the chunky, rootsy Rock of "Love in Action", a sort of familiar Pop Rock style Todd has dipped into throughout his career, e.g. Ra's "Jealousy", and from his solo material, "Slut", and "Is It My Name?". Although I haven't heard this song in years also, I have fonder feelings about it, for sure. It has a memorable and simple chorus, and the verses are nearly Glam-ready. I like it! Straight up sounding like the title of a contemporary Styx number is drummer John Wilcox's "Crazy Lady Blue", which honestly sounds like a B-side to any likewise-contemporary Billy Joel album [Genuinely, I'm actually a big fan of The Stranger, I feel I must add]. Decent chorus, featuring expectedly solid group vocals, but honestly not a track I've enjoyed returning to in years past; it's kinda boring? The post-chorus composition is vaguely neo-classical. But then we do have this more than delightful guitar solo I've utterly forgotten from Todd; kind of a special moment, surprisingly. Another ever-skipped is up next, "Back on the Street". Probably Kasim Sulton's weakest vocal performance on the first verse... The chorus is pretty alright, with a solid Rundgren melody, at least. I feel honestly, though, this song did continue to improve... For whatever it's now worth. You will definitely be able to identify this as Utopia haha /s.

One I played certainly more than the prior two is "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"! The verse is solid Hard Rock Todd, and the chorus is actually the origin of our album's title. It's good, but nothing too special... But then this bridge!!! Sulton back in finer form, this is the reason I always returned to it... And as it goes, it just dips me into euphoric frisson (aside from the fact that this now counts as 'nostalgia' for me). It's a fun, light cabaret ballad thing. Then, I don't know what it could be exactly, but Mr. Rundgren was a master of writing these infectious, anthemic singalongs, which sort of acts as the bridge's second half. This song is followed by easily, and definitely, my favorite track of the whole, "The Martyr", again with the talented Kasim Sulton doing one of the things he's best at (ya know, along with prodigy-bassist-talent aplenty). The glassy guitar tone at the start is just... wow... This track booms, and it soars. I think it's got the f*ckin' knack, man. This specifically is the moment most resembling that special sort of magic that "Eternal Love" had. Another infectious chorus with excellent group vocals, another delicious bridge. At the end of the latter, Kasim's piercing falsetto on the final note lighty bleeds beautifully into lead guitar, not totally unreminiscent of that wonderful moment in Boston's "More Than A Feeling" from a year before this.

Roger Powell comes to try to cool us down on "Abandon City". I really like the rhythm here. The soulful, even funky, group vocals are lovely. These sorts of moments will be defined beforehand, based upon your own tastes. I know it's not gonna be for everyone. And honestly again, I'm pleasantly surprised hearing this now after so long. Funky, spunky keys through and through, and then in an even greater surprise to me, something I don't remember at all, Roger Powell then plays a frankly sizeable trumpet solo?! Just as depending-on-your-tastes is "Gangrene" up next, with John back on lead vox. This is literally "Jealousy 2.0" to my ears haha. This is like... Meatloaf. It's not really something I'm into. At least they're good at it?... They're good at schlock HA! Back into cool? Yes please! Next is the blue-eyed soulful "My Angel", in which Kasim and Todd trade lines. I forgot about this one hahaha. I like it; but I also like Todd in so many of his varied stripes. Hopefully people can look at tracks like this with at least respectful frames... This is so Philly Soul. So, also, speaking of whiteys, if you're a fan of earlier Hall & Oates, here's this track!

Coming to the close, we have the obviously terribly awkwardly named "Rape of the Young"... I'm sure the title is not the reason I seldom heard this one back when. But... it's actually a lot of fun! Like some of the material off of the AWATS medley, or Todd! Certainly bordering on the--to be completely transparent--Rock 'n Roll Boomer schlock that I abhor. It's faster. It's tastier. There's a sick guitar solo. I mean, I guess it's not rocket science why this works haha. And we are finally here, the Todd anthem to end all Todd anthems, the give-your-mama-chills ballad, "Love Is the Answer". I mean, this is a great song. England Dan & John Ford Coley had a big hit with their rendition.

Ummm... And that's all I have to say! This is an interesting album at an interesting time in popular music. It has its moments, but it also has its unfortunate markings of age. How progressive is the majority of this release? Not a whole lot. Some tasty flavorings here and there, some still rather interesting compositional moments throughout. It's for you to decide, but I certainly hope this can provide some direction [and from a millennial, too?].

True Rate: 2.75/5.00

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