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Utopia Deface The Music album cover
2.87 | 45 ratings | 11 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Just Want to Touch You (2:00)
2. Crystal Ball (2:00)
3. Where Does the World Go to Hide (1:41)
4. Silly Boy (2:20)
5. Alone (2:10)
6. That's Not Right (2:37)
7. Take It Home (2:53)
8. Hoi Poloi (2:33)
9. Life Goes On (2:21)
10. Feel Too Good (3:04)
11. Always Late (2:22)
12. All Smiles (2:27)
13. Everybody Else Is Wrong (3:38)

Total Time: 32:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Todd Rundgren / vocals, guitar, producer
- Roger Powell / synth, vocals
- Kasim Sulton / bass, vocals
- John Wilcox / drums, vocals

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Jane Millett

LP Bearsville ‎- BRK 3487 (1980, US)

CD Bearsville ‎- VDP-28027 (1988, Japan)
CD Bearsville ‎- ESM CD 760 (1999, UK) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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UTOPIA Deface The Music ratings distribution

(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(13%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (47%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

UTOPIA Deface The Music reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
3 stars UTOPIA was never overtly influenced by THE BEATLES, so the decision to create a condensed career retrospective of THE BEATLES on "Deface The Music" is something of a surprise. Almost all of the songs are variations on an earlier BEATLES theme: "I Just Want to Touch You" is a spin-off of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", "Where Does the World Go" is based on "I'll Follow the Sun", "Take It Home" is inspired by "Drive My Car", etc. The band occasionally succeeds at putting its own twist on THE BEATLES' songs -- the "Penny Lane"- inspired "Hoi Polloi" or "All Smiles" (which combines pieces of "Michelle" and "Fool on the Hill") improve on psychedelic pop much as XTC was able to do, but using tracks like "Eleanor Rigby" and "I Am The Walrus" as templates for "Life Goes On" and "Everybody Else Is Wrong", respectively, casts too great a shadow over UTOPIA's revisions to enjoy. TODD addresses the hopes of many in the opening track: "You might have heard this all before / But from me it could mean something more." Whether it's meant as a parody or novelty, "Deface The Music" sells their own songwriting skills and sound short.

A cute experiment, to be sure, but what was the point again?

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Love me do?

If you've come across "The Rutles", a British comedy spoof of the Beatles created by Monty Python's Neil Innes, you'll have a good idea of what to expect here. Like the Rutles, the music on "Deface the music" is all deliberately designed to sound as much like the (early) Beatles as possible.

Rundgren does a good job if it, the album consisting of short catchy tunes which clone the Liverpool sound perfectly. If you were to be presented with these tracks and told they were from a recently discovered collections of recordings by the fab four, you would have no reason to doubt it.

The question is, why? Todd and the rest of Utopia have come up with some original and enjoyable work over the years, but this album is anything but original. Yes it's clever, but it does smack of grand scale self indulgence. For devotees of this web-site, there's no prog to be found here. For those who enjoy hearing the Beatles sound, you'd be better buying a Beatles album.

Review by soundsweird
2 stars Don't you hate it when you have a compilation album with a couple of great tracks from an album you've never heard, so you buy that album, only to find out that the tracks on the compilation are the only decent tracks?!?!? I already had "City In My Head", a very good Utopia compilation on 2 CD's. After a year of searching, I found a used copy of this in another city (Houston). Good thing I only paid $8 for this stinker (it didn't help that it was an original issue, not a remastered version). Also, it clocks in at 32 minutes!!! Todd?!?!? Hell, he's put more music than that on one side of an LP!!!!! We are not pleased.... What must have started out as a good idea became an album with a few good songs and a lot of filler. The music, lyrics and arrangements should've been a LOT better.

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars This album is yet another departure by Todd Rundgren – heck, everything he’s ever done has been a departure from something. In the case of Deface the Music, Rundgren and crew take on the early Beatles sound with a vengeance, or at least as much of a vengeance as is possible with this kind of pre-rock sound. The songs would have been very popular back in 1963, but as usual Utopia is reacting to a musical trend after it has already run its course, instead of being on the progressive forefront of a new sound. In this case they missed the boat by at least a dozen years.

“I Just Want to Touch You” is a pure pop song in the vein of the earliest Beatles – it’s “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” with a little bit (but not much) better production quality than those early Parlophone recordings. Same goes for “Crystal Ball” and “Where Does the World Go to Hide?”, the latter of which is some sort of self-absorbed lament from a guy who I guess just lost his girlfriend.

On “Silly Boy” the recording quality sounds like Rundgren intentionally tried to inflect the tinny sound of those mid-60’s albums that were converted from mono to stereo. This is another ‘girl done me wrong’ song, as is the next one, “Alone”, which has a little bit of a Spanish flair with someone playing a fat acoustic guitar.

“That’s Not Right” is another pre-1965 clone, and “Take it Home” is a conscious rip-off of (er, tribute to) “Drive My Car”. By the time “Hoi Poloi” rolls around the band has worked its way up to the later 60’s hits like “Penny Lane” and “Happiness is a Warm Gun”. There’s also some horns on this one which is a bit of a change from the front side of the album.

“Life Goes On” is a story-song with strings ala Revolver or maybe even the white album, but the boy-band harmonizing vocals are just plain kitschy.

I’m not sure what “Feel Too Good” is supposed to be a clone of, but it sort of sounds like the Sgt. Peppers/Magical Mystery Tour era with a little bit of psychedelic keyboarding and throbbing, repetitive guitar.

“Always Late” is the filler tune, and “All Smiles” is Abbey Road era but without the ethereal mood that the Beatles brought to the original. This one also has harmonizing backing vocals, but these sound more like an Irish drinking song.

The album comes to a close with “Everybody Else is Wrong” is just kind of a generic tribute to that era of music, with no particular influence standing out. I will say that I particularly like the piano on this song, which is somewhat slower than the rest of the album, but the vocals are just plain grating.

I have no idea why Rundgren felt the need to release a tribute (or parody) in the form of an irreverent retrospective, particularly in 1980 when even progressive bands were struggling to figure out what came next, not reflecting back on what was more than a decade before. I suppose he may have felt this was a daring gamble to be different, but I’d have to say it falls kind of flat, and definitely has not stood the test of time in the quarter-century since its release.

If you’re looking for some really good mid-60’s music that is bright, upbeat, and reflects the times in which is was written, well – buy some old Beatles records. If you’re looking for a really good Utopia album, this isn’t it – maybe try Ra or their debut album instead. Otherwise, this one is for collectors only. Two stars, and barely that.


Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars What were they thinking?

In my opinion, this is the first complete miss in Todd Rundgren's repertiore. When listening to this album it is very difficult to tell if Todd and the gang were trying to create a tribute album or a parody. If it was meant as a tribute, I think they would have achieved that goal better by doing their own interpretations of Beatles songs. If it was meant as a parody, they come up far short next to the great Beatles parody by Neil Innes and friends "The Rutles".

The only real entertainment value when listening is to try to determine which Beatles songs were the inspiration for each track on this album. Many of the songs sound like they were inspired by multiple Beatles tracks. And too many of the McCartney style songs sound not like Beatles, but McCartney's solo track Another Day.

The good points? It's a short album.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This album seems to be either loved or hated, with little middle ground. Count me in the "love" category. This album had the severe misfortune of being released around the time of John Lennon's assassination, which doomed it to commercial failure, but in musical terms it rivals the Rutles as being a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1327238) | Posted by CassandraLeo | Monday, December 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Wow. This album being listed under Eclectic Prog is mind-baffling. WHile some of the work of Utopia and Todd Rundgren can be considerd Prog, DEFACE THE MUSIC is pure Beatles- inspired pop-rock. It's not a bad album. In fact, it is an amazing tribute to The Beatles, similar to The Rutles, I gues ... (read more)

Report this review (#355439) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, December 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I first Heard this Album I was like WTF! It has grown on me over the years. I remember when John Lennon was murdered. I felt bad for Utopia, I think this album could have been a great followup to Adventures in Utopia. I wanted to so bad to see them perform this Album, but I understood at t ... (read more)

Report this review (#282831) | Posted by canemeth | Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I recently bought this album despite some of the reviews on this site and i must say i was verily impressed. It is a fantastic album driving through the Beatlesesque sounds. The early tracks recreating the start of their career are fast with such poppy brilliance as Rundgren does so well ... (read more)

Report this review (#96903) | Posted by Psychedelia | Thursday, November 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I don't know how many people actually know about the information that I am about to give. This album was released in 1980. 1980 is ironically the year that John Lennon was assasinated by that psychopath in New York. Well folks, guess what? When his Lennon's killer was arrested, his belongi ... (read more)

Report this review (#88557) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Now...i love Todd Rundgren´s Utopia (Especially : "Ra" "Utopia" "Oops wrong...") but when this one hit my ear...whoaaaa....whats this then...well its sort of Beatles goes Todd..if you actually sounds like a forgotten Beatles album from the 60´ties. Except for the missing Lennon/McCartney ... (read more)

Report this review (#26507) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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