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TODD RUNDGREN

Crossover Prog • United States


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Todd Rundgren biography
Todd Harry Rundgren - Born June 22, 1948 (Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, USA)

Rundgren played in several bands in New Jersey and Philadelphia during the mid to late 60's including the blues based Woody's Truck Stop, before forming The Nazz, in 1967. Playing both guitar and bass, Rundgren unapologetically drew inspiration from UK bands such as The Move & The Yardbirds, and, in signing to SGC records, they released Nazz Nazz in 1969.

When the band split, Rundgren simultaneously went in to producing and engineering for Bearsville Records, while forming his own band 'Runt'; a vehicle for his own solo career, the eponymous debut for which he released in 1970, which included the Top 40 hit 'We Gotta Get You A Woman'. It was however his reputation for production which ironically gained momentum, engineering The Band & Jesse Winchester, before Badfinger's 'Straight Up' gave him the hit 'Baby Blue'.

This success enabled him to produce his own, critically acclaimed power pop-oriented double album, 'Something/ Anything?' in 1972, upon which he played every instrument. With the door to success opening to him, he spurned it with future releases, such as 1973's eclectic follow-up, A Wizard, A True Star, and 1974's more progressive Todd, which contained several lengthy, experimental instrumentals. Rundgren's music was at its most progressive with his band UTOPIA (a band consisting of three keyboard players), which released Todd Rundgren's Utopia and Initiation in 1974 & 75 respectively, and Another Live, which showcased the bands experimental synthesiser work, with epics mostly over 10 minutes long.

During this period, his music addressed cosmic themes, a reflection of his strong interest in far Eastern religion and philosophy. It is this period of Rundgren's solo work, running parallel with 'Utopia' which will be of most interest to the progressive rock fan, as his music not only displayed psychedelic rock influences, but also the avant-garde Jazz Fusion of artists such as Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa. This was underlined by Rundgren's increasingly lavish, ambitious stage settings, which echoed the space-themed shows of acts like Funkedelic & Parliament.

Rundgren's 1976 album Faithful, saw him return to the rock/pop genre which has brought him some success in the early '70s, with a side of original songs, and a side of 60's covers, such as Good Vibrations. This continued with 19...
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TODD RUNDGREN discography


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TODD RUNDGREN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.11 | 55 ratings
Runt
1970
2.41 | 58 ratings
Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
1971
3.44 | 97 ratings
Something / Anything ?
1972
3.87 | 137 ratings
A Wizard, a True Star
1973
3.86 | 105 ratings
Todd
1974
3.88 | 97 ratings
Initiation
1975
3.02 | 53 ratings
Faithful
1976
3.12 | 56 ratings
Hermit Of Mink Hollow
1978
3.10 | 49 ratings
Healing
1981
2.15 | 44 ratings
The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect
1982
2.55 | 34 ratings
A Cappella
1985
3.08 | 38 ratings
Nearly Human
1989
2.57 | 30 ratings
2nd Wind
1991
1.74 | 31 ratings
No World Order
1993
2.60 | 14 ratings
No World Order - Lite
1994
2.29 | 18 ratings
The Individualist
1995
2.69 | 13 ratings
With A Twist ...
1997
3.00 | 5 ratings
Up Against It !
1998
2.26 | 16 ratings
One Long Year
2000
3.26 | 26 ratings
Liars
2004
2.86 | 23 ratings
Arena
2008
3.17 | 6 ratings
Todd Rundgren's Johnson
2011
2.25 | 4 ratings
(re)Production
2011
2.40 | 18 ratings
State
2013
3.00 | 8 ratings
Global
2015
3.00 | 4 ratings
Todd Rundgren, Emil Nikolaisen & Hans-Peter Lindstrom: Runddans
2015
3.58 | 17 ratings
White Knight
2017

TODD RUNDGREN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 28 ratings
Back to the Bars
1978
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Individualist, A True Star Live
2023

TODD RUNDGREN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TODD RUNDGREN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.27 | 7 ratings
Anthology (1968 - 1985)
1989
3.19 | 7 ratings
The Very Best of Todd Rundgren
1997
4.75 | 4 ratings
The Best Of Todd Rundgren - Go Ahead. Ignore Me
1999
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Definitive Rock Collection
2006

TODD RUNDGREN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Hello It's Me / Cold Morning Light
1972
4.00 | 1 ratings
I Saw the Light / Marlene
1972
4.00 | 1 ratings
Something
1973
4.00 | 1 ratings
Love of the Common Man
1976
5.00 | 1 ratings
Good Vibrations / When I Pray
1976

TODD RUNDGREN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Healing by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.10 | 49 ratings

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Healing
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by JazzFusionGuy

4 stars I bought this as an LP not long after it came out, being a Rundgren release, due to the album name and the cover art.

I listened to it many times and found some gems and some duds as far as my taste in music. I immediately made a cassette for listening to my fav tracks in a continuous flow. They were and still are: Healing, Flesh, Compassion, Shine, Healing Pts. 1 and 2, Tiny Demons

Healing Pt. 2 is absolutely splendid -- a top-notch ambient-ish piece to drift off into other realms -- which I often did. Compassion came in a close second. Rundgren has not created a masterpiece with Healing but he really pushed himself yet again into new sonic horizons. I really enjoyed his use of synths and guitars. As always, his vocal work was wonderful. Tiny Demons as some very cool distorted guitar effects and left-right-left channel bouncing. The synth/machine drums are very 80s, a tad irritating in their fake sound but after awhile you learn to ignore them.

"Golden Goose" track was painful to experience.

Lastly, this is an album intended to shift your consciousness in a positive space of hope and a reconsideration of why we think and do what we do.

Recommended.

 A Wizard, a True Star by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 137 ratings

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A Wizard, a True Star
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Sidscrat

4 stars This is where the Odd was poured into Todd. On the road to become the "male Carole King", Todd took a sudden detour. He didn't like that designation and decided to change styles and genres. Speaking to a graduating class he stated that when he put out this album he lost about half his audience. Rundgren never did want to stay in any genre for too long but pop seems to be where he spent most of his time. Another reason for his switch was his journey into drugs. He labeled taking acid and writing music as "painting with your head."

Well this album is a bizarre painting for sure. This is the first attempt at prog. Weirdly enough it is laced in pop leanings. Side one is a sonic disaster of mixed up and super active sounds and his production skills are very apparent on this side. I love the flow of the music from start to finish and the bizarre sounds he administered. It is important to note that there is the music and then there is the production and the latter is just as important as the former. Side one is a winner!

However, side 2 comes around and???. he completely loses me. This side settles into a set of pop songs with a hint here and there of something like side one. Even decades after I bought the album I play side two and just cannot connect with it. His venture into prog rock would not last all that long and he would be done by about 1979.

He is incredibly talented but the only music I really care for are his prog years. This album gets a high 4 for side one but a low number for the second side. I still give it a four if not just for side one.

 A Wizard, a True Star by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 137 ratings

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A Wizard, a True Star
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I am gonna be blunt, I am not a huge fan of Todd Rundgren's work. I like a few Utopia albums but I feel like he is definitely the front facer of why so many people think Progressive Rock is a pretentious hogwash of a genre due to him putting so much music on his albums, sometimes even creating side long pieces that are 30 minutes. While you could argue he is meant to try and be ambitious, it feels like he ends up hurting himself more than he likes to admit by creating these big 50+ minute albums with 20+ songs that are like a minute or two long. Each time I see his albums whether at a store or on Spotify I end up not wanting to listen to them because of how much music, most likely filler music I have to stomach throughout it, but that is why I shall listen to this album. I am gonna give it a fair shot and see if I may be wrong about Todd's music and ambitions or if my fears are absolute.

The album opens with International Feel. This song has a pretty big ELO vibe mixed with some stuff from Kansas or Styx since Todd is from America and all. To be honest there isn't a lot in it to really warrant much of an opinion, it just kinda comes and goes. Nothing really impactful to be honest.

Next song is Never Never Land, and it's kinda boring. The singing is fine but it feels a bit too short handed by the lack of much of anything in the instrumentation and how it feels. Really just like the last song, it kinda comes and goes.

I'll be honest, I feel as though these short, nothing of note songs are gonna be a trend here, and I think I confirmed that theory with Tic Tic Tic It Wears Off. Going back with the whole American Progressive Pop vibes, it kinda just comes and goes for me, though I do like it's sorta weird keyboard playing, but it is still too short for me to really appreciate it.

And the songs just get shorter with You Need Your Head, which simply goes from one ear and out the other, and is really not too interesting. In fact the songs afterwards, Rock and Roll Pussy, Dogfight Giggle, You Don't Camp Around, Flamingo are basically that, small filler songs that are just nothing really, and I feel like this trend really breaks this album for me. To me, simply making an album with a lot of songs just to have a lot of songs is really dumb. In fact I feel like if you made these smaller songs into one conjoined melody or suite then I would really enjoy this album much more, but as it stands, especially with all these short, 1 minute or so songs, it just feels very much like nothing to me.

However, what isn't nothing is Zen Archer, the best song on the album. It definitely is of note how different it feels since it feels like the most developed song on this album and one I truly really like. I love its cryptic European feel, and I know they came about long after this album's release, but it does remind me of The Dear Hunter, especially tracks like The Poison Woman and The Bitter Suite IV and V. It has that awesome baroque feel I really do wish more Prog bands attempted, especially in this day and age. Also that saxophone solo is very lovely, super dream-like and just nice to listen to. Honestly I want more of this, cause it is actually just really good.

However I feel as though my wish will not come with Just Another Onionhead / Da Da Dali. It just feels so, fillery you know? It is a perfectly fine song but man does it just feel confusing after that awesome 5 minute doozie of a song Zen Archer. It feels like Todd struck gold, held it up, and tossed it aside because he thinks it isn't as good as digging for iron. It is a waste of his talents that he clearly has but also doesn't seem to want to pull off the bat. It's honestly kinda sad.

I do think it does kinda redeem itself with When The Shit Hits The Fan / Sunset Blvd. which is a fun, sorta surf rock song with some nice and fun riffs and playing. I do like it a bit more because I can at least tell Todd really did try to develop this song a bit more than some of the other stuff here, which I appreciate.

What I do not appreciate is instantly going back to the same 1 minute song structure with Le Feel Internacionale. It makes me confused as to why he would develop one song to where it'd actually be a full and complete song, but not do so for other's, or make the small one minute songs like just one conjoined suite so it can be better appreciated? It feels like a waste of good talent.

Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel is another developed track, a slow ballad that definitely has some good moments and emotion, something much needed by this point.

After that, and another small track called Does Anybody Love You! (Seriously stop doing these short songs, they are kinda peeving me off) we get a?a melody of short songs that encompasses into a full piece. Ok, why wasn't this done with the other short songs this album had? Why now? Is it because these tracks flowed better into one another so it was just a thought to make them into a melody, but the other tracks also did, so why not make them melodies too? It baffles me how Todd, a man who clearly shows his worth, doesn't use it until stupid moments like this. The melody is fine but man does it just make me confused.

I don't think I need to talk about I Don't Want to Tie You Down and Hungry For Love, they are those in and out the ears songs that I clearly have a gripe for.

The second to last song is Is It My Name? which goes for a more British hard rock style like The Who or The Rolling Stones does. It is actually kinda cool, and definitely a fun song to listen to if you just want a good time so I definitely applaud Todd for making another good song.

This also stays true with Just One Victory, the last track on the album. It is a lot more R&B based but it is still pretty fun and a good closer for this album. I clearly like this song, but the fact this is the last song on an album filled with filler is just sad, cause Todd really puts in effort when he making tracks like Zen Archer or When The Shit Hits The Fan, but he never utilizes it with the shorter songs due to how nothing they feel like, which just puts a bad taste in my mouth.

I really did want to like this album, it has good moments, and songs that I really enjoy, but it has so much small amounts of filler in it to where if you subtracted the 1-2 minute songs and only included the full developed songs, no matter how short, it'll turn out to be a much better album, and with that, I think my fears are definitely true for my feelings with Todd's music, and all I can say is that I hope the best for him wherever he is now.

 Runt by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.11 | 55 ratings

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Runt
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Stressed Cheese

4 stars Well, this is a pleasant surprise. Todd Rundgren's first two albums don't come up too often, and tend to be overlooked a bit compared to his pop masterpiece "Something/Anything?" and the more experimental albums that followed that one. As such, I was mostly expecting a prototypical S/A experience here. In a way, that's what I got, but there's more here than just some pleasant pop tunes from a not yet fully developed Todd.

One thing that immediately stood out to me after my first listen was the division of the album into two distinct sides. I don't know if this was intentional (I couldn't find anything about this), but considering "Something/Anything?" has its songs divided up into four titled sides, I wouldn't be surprised if it was. The first side indeed has the proto- S/A style pop/blues/ballads I was expecting. A lot of these will remind you of songs off that double album, though the mix, arrangements and Todd's singing aren't quite as polished yet. It still sounds rather good for 1970, and I do love Todd's voice, but the growth between this album and 1972 is clear. Think of how The Beatles' early singles showcased their style well but weren't as polished yet as, say, "A Hard Day's Night", and you get the idea ? the seeds for "Something/Anything?" are there. This first side consists of generally solid tunes. The highlights here are "We Gotta Get You A Woman", a minor hit for Rundgren which sports the album's catchiest chorus, and "Who's That Man?", an energetic rock-and-roller that shows off Todd's humorous side.

Side two, however, is where the more ambitious songs lie. All of the four tracks on this side stand out for one reason or another, and I will now dryly describe them to prove the point. "I'm In The Clique" starts the side off with some ominous ghost noises that I'm guessing are coming from Mark Klingman's keyboards, and evolves into some jazzy bass and drums improvisation. In the eerie acapella "There Are No Words", there are no words, but it does feature some of Todd's best vocals on the album. After that is a medley of three songs preceded by a short doo- wop parody. These three songs return to the pop stylings of the first side, but by having them stitched together like this, they fit in well with the second side's more experimental nature. They also feature some of the hookiest melodies on the album and despite my praising of the experimental touches on this side, this medley of pop songs is my favorite track on the album.

The closing track's the multi-part "Birthday Carol", and it's easily the most proggy track here. Its arch form contains an orchestral intro and outro, and a bluesy jam sandwiching the main body, which is a very Rundgren-y ballad. The lyrics are more complicated here than on the rest of the album, though don't ask me what it's supposed to mean. It's essentially a prog track on a pop album, and ends the album on a good and memorable note.

In all, not a bad first solo album, though it's not really a solo album technically, as it was originally credited to Runt. Runt is Todd, and the brothers Hunt and Tony Sales on respectively drums and bass, but since all the writing and production is done by Rundgren, and he handles most instruments aside from drums and bass, Runt = Todd Rundgren as much as Frank Zappa = The Mothers. Apparently Todd wasn't quite comfortable yet putting out an album credited to just himself, and as he was relatively fresh (The Nazz had their debut album released two years before this one), and young at 22, you can't blame him. He still sounds a little insecure in his singing at times too, I find. Later albums show a better eye - or ear, I guess - for details (not that there's nothing like that here ? e.g., one nice touch is the way the main ballad segues back into the blues jam on "Birthday Carol"), but's still a good start, and one that prog fans should be able to appreciate given the interesting tracks on side B.

Rating: 8/10 Highlight of the album: "Baby Let's Swing"/"The Last Thing You Said"/"Don't Tie My Hands"

 Initiation by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.88 | 97 ratings

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Initiation
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

5 stars This is Todd's "initiation" into full-blown synth-based prog rock after a few albums that tended to lean more towards pop rock and quirkiness. I like Todd's ballads and popular songs just fine, but I LOVE his prog efforts. And this is GREAT!

The overall theme of the album is so inspiring and thought-provoking, dealing with his search for spirituality and self-realization. The lyrics are absolutely perfect - motivating in "Real Man", psyched-up in "Initiation", contemplative yet determined in "Fair Warning", and typically humorous in "Eastern Intrigue" and "Death of Rock 'n' Roll". That's the strength and beauty of this album: the perfect blend of message with melody and instrumentation.

Oh, and don't overlook some simply STUNNING sax solos - Dave Sanborn provides some fireworks on the title track, while Edgar Winter(!) blows his way beautifully all around "Fair Warning". (You won't find that kind of sax work on any other Todd cd.)

And what about the 36-minute side-2 epic, "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire"? You either love it or hate it. It deteriorates into a bit of "needless noodling" at times perhaps, but this is a dreamy, fun, electronic trip into space and back again - with MUSIC, not just random sound effects. I LOVE it. Todd plays all of the instruments on this track, which features a lot of keyboards. During the opening few minutes though, Todd reminds us that he's also a pretty great guitarist as he wails out on one of his best guitar solos ever!

I've seen too many reviewers go overboard with superlatives on other cd reviews, so I'll try to remain rational. But this goes into my top 5 list of personal favorite all-time albums (along with Yes' "Tales from Topographic Oceans", Genesis' "A Trick of the Tail", Jean-Luc Ponty's "Enigmatic Ocean", and Renaissance's "Live at Carnegie Hall").

Hey, in the liner notes, Todd even thanks you for buying the album! Get it! (And now you know where I got my ProgArchives avatar from... ;-)

 Todd by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.86 | 105 ratings

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Todd
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is where Todd Rundgren clicks for me - briefly, before losing me completely. On this double album he takes the power pop ballad style of Something/Anything and the rampant experimentalism of A Wizard. A True Star and attempts to reach a balance point between the two. In the end, I suspect Todd's instincts lie more in the progressive direction than pop, with the end result being just as expansive a stylistic smorgasboard as the preceding album - but this time around, all the different musical ideas are given just enough room to breathe whilst still being kept disciplined enough to prevent them outstaying their welcome individually. As an album, though, it's a slog, with Todd's continued displaying of his studio tricks descending into flashy technical showing-off.
 A Wizard, a True Star by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 137 ratings

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A Wizard, a True Star
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Something/Anything was a big commercial and critical success, he was branded as the male answer to Carole King, which I guess he didn't want that comparison, so he purposely made his followup, A Wizard, A True Star to be very different. Much more quirky, twisted, and experimental, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Frank Zappa was a big influence on him at this point. "International Feel" sounds pretty normal, but a great piece. It sorta reminds me of Spirit's "Mr. Skin" if dominated by clavinet, but then after that it's clear that he really took the VCS-3 synthesizer to much greater use (he used it in a more low-key manner on Something/Anything), here he uses it frequently for strange electronic effects. He was purposely trying to record an album that won't give a hit single, and I'm not too surprised if this irritated the rock critics at the time. I have to admit I never cared for the medley of soul and Motown songs, it just doesn't fit too well with the more artsy and experimental pop surrounding the album. Regardless, listening to this, it's little surprise that he would actually explore prog rock for real with Utopia the following year. The more mainstream crowd would be more comfortable with Something/Anything, but for the more adventurous, if you forget about that soul/Motown medley, this is really some great stuff and worth having.
 No World Order - Lite by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.60 | 14 ratings

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No World Order - Lite
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by ghost_of_morphy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Todd has never been afraid of experimenting in different genres, as he shows here.

No World Order was a gimmicky release designed to let te listener simulate certain aspects of engineering an album. Certainly this was an interesting idea, but the resulting tracks had an incomplete sound to them.

A year later, Todd released No World Order Lite, incorporating this material in a more traditional and more listenable format. Todd has significantly updated his sound. incorporating elements of rap and hip hop along with a ponderous array of studio manipulated sound. Rap. hip hop, excessively manipulated sound.... that pretty much sums up the low points of this album, and those low points are pervasive.

On the other hand, the actual songs (the ones that are really songs) show some glimmers of interest here and there. Yes, this album is forgettable, but parts of it are quite pleasant and nearly all of it is listenable. Two stars for this confusing mish mash that occasionally melds into coherence.

 Something / Anything ? by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.44 | 97 ratings

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Something / Anything ?
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I really couldn't see the fuss on this album. It's the same feeling I have for the Beatles' White Album. It would have served much better as a single LP as there's too much messing about for a consistent release. "I Saw the Light" and the remake of the old Nazz song from 1968, "Hello, It's Me" were the big hits on this album, the latter having a faster pace than the '68 original. The best stuff is when he takes creative twists to the songs, like "The Night The Carosel Burned Down", the instrumental "Breathless" and "Song of the Viking". "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" is a piano-oriented ballad, but I simply don't care for it, although it sounded like it could become an AM hit at the time. "Hello, It's Me" was originally recorded by Todd's old band, The Nazz, and of course it's the remade version that everyone's familiar with, and I have always enjoyed this song, even when heard on the radio. I hadn't heard this album in years, but I remembered that, for every brilliant song was a song that I could do without. I obviously didn't expect something full-on prog like Utopia's debut, that would be ridiculous. To me, I found A Wizard, a True Star an improvement (although I could do without the medley of soul ballads, as most others can agree on). Certainly Something/Anything is quite diverse but it's really hit or miss, so three stars, it is.
 White Knight by RUNDGREN, TODD album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.58 | 17 ratings

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White Knight
Todd Rundgren Crossover Prog

Review by cartwing

4 stars the last good or just acceptable Album I heard from Todd was the - to my opinion underrated album "Second wind". I was a fan before I found my way to the world of prog, but I wouldnt describe any of his albums as progressive rock ´with two exceptions. "Initiation" and the first "Utopia" album. So this new album is as far away from anything similar to prog as you can imagiine. BUT it is in fact the first album I could listen to from the beginning to the end without pushing the red button. After "Todd Rundgren and friends" this is another album on which he works together with big names such as Daryl Hall or Donald Fagen. Some good tracks on this one even when you compare it with the last few albums. different Music styles are mixed together here but thats just what makes it special. I guess it deserves 4 stars just for the fact that it is real music again...
Thanks to Fandango for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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