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Todd Rundgren

Crossover Prog

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Todd Rundgren Healing album cover
3.11 | 50 ratings | 5 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Healer (3:40)
2. Pulse (3:07)
3. Flesh (3:58)
4. Golden Goose (3:16)
5. Compassion (4:43)
6. Shine (8:12)
7. Healing (20:00):
- Part I (7:28)
- Part II (7:52)
- Part III (4:40)

Bonus tracks:
8. Time Heals (3:33)
9. Tiny Demons (3:08)

Total Time 53:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Todd Rundgren / vocals, all instruments, composer & producer

Releases information

Artwork: Prairie Prince

LP Bearsville ‎- BHS 3522 (1981, US)
2LP Bearsville ‎- BHS 3522 (1981, US) Bonus 7" disc with 2 tracks

CD Rhino Records ‎- RNCD 70874 (1987, US) With 2 bonus tracks
CD Essential - ESD CD 705 (1999, UK) Remastered by Andy Pearce with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy TODD RUNDGREN Healing Music

TODD RUNDGREN Healing ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

TODD RUNDGREN Healing reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars One case where killing the Golden Goose would be justified

Following his 8th (including the two "Runt" albums) solo release "Hermit of Mink Hollow" in 1978, Todd focused his attention on his work with his Utopian colleagues. Three further Utopia albums were released before Todd rekindled his solo career in 1981 with "Healing".

In keeping with what had now become the distinction between the two strands to his career, on this album Todd plays, sings, writes and produces everything you hear. "Healing" is a concept album, the second side of which consists of a three part side long suite. The underlying themes explore Todd's interests in spiritual matters in far greater detail than he had revealed up until this point. While there are no Rundgren classics as such, the album (and bonus single) form an unusually (for Todd) cohesive whole.

The album opens with "Healer", a strange concoction of Middle Eastern type chants and Rundgren pop. It actually works reasonably well, the by now familiar synth patterns in the background keeping things contemporary. Things continue in a similar vein with "Pulse" although the vocal arrangement here is slightly more intricate. "Flesh" slows things down a bit for a decent power ballad, initially with minimal accompaniment.

"Golden goose" is generally the least appreciated song here, and it is easy to see why. This jaunty ditty with a circus like backing and a whimsical feel does not sit easily with its peers. Had the song been one of the brief one minute items on "A wizard, A true star", I suspect no one would have minded; here though it rather outstays its welcome. "Compassion" restores normality in another mid-paced heart-felt ballad. The song would have fitted in well on the previous "Hermit of Mink Hollow", where it would have been by far the longest track!

The longest song on side one here is the 8+ minute "Shine". At first the song sounds a bit messy but this is down to the rather offbeat arrangement. The floating synths and melodic vocal refrain actually sit together well, creating one of Todd's more anthemic pieces.

Side two of the album is occupied entirely by "Healing", a three part suite running to 20 minutes (although my LP only actually has 2 track bands, parts 1 and 2 appearing as one track). The seven minute first part is a gorgeous, relaxed affair with a wonderful melody (which is reminiscent of Roxette's much later "Listen to your heart") and some great sax. Todd's falsetto vocals are the perfect complement to the hypnotic backing theme. Part 2 slows things down through a ponderous, almost folk mantra, the repetitive backing to which is quite similar to the start of "Tubular bells". The final part is effectively a reprise of part 1, with the same basic themes.

Rather than create another impossibly long LP such as "Initiation", two further tracks intended for the album are added as a bonus 7" single to the LP package. "Time heals", the A side, is a rather ordinary power pop number with a highly repetitive chorus. It is not really strong enough to make a successful single, and too light for a decent album track. "Tiny demons" is much better, with a feel similar to the middle section of "Healing". The instrumental arrangement of the song is the strongest of the entire set.

My main criticism of this album is the predominance of rather cheap sounding keyboards, which generally have the feel of a budget keyboard bought for the average home. They tend lack the depth of sound which we associate with Todd, perhaps pointing towards deficiencies in the production. Admittedly, this album is a product of the early 1980's, where such sounds were very much the norm. We have always relied on Todd though to resist the norm in favour of setting his own standards. I should emphasise though that such aspects do not render the album disposable by any means. This is a fine album, indeed for some it is Todd at his best. I do no go that far, but I happily recommend it to those who enjoy the music of the maestro.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars The first side of this album is again bringing the listener to a kaleidoscope of musical styles which is quite disturbing to listen to. But since the first Todd album, it was mostly the case. So, the usual fan won't be surprised but the casual one who is taking the ride with "Healing" must be pretty uncomfortable with the offering.

The first trio of songs are all but memorable; especially the weak and experimental "Pulse". But what about "Flesh"? A weak complaint all the way through. The man was gifted in writing fine rock ballads but I am quite disappointed with this one.

The golden press next key is best used while reaching "Golden Goose". Ouch! It hurts. A lot. My son Daniel just entered my home office while I was writing this review (I swear that this is true). He told me: "what's this sh*t"? I can only agree?

As I have mentioned earlier on, Todd's melodic angle is yet again available during "Compassion". The only bearable song so far. But nothing great to be honest. A mellow rock ballad. But after all this junk, it has to be received as a nice gift. Maybe somewhat syrupy.

"Shine" is the best moment of this album. If you are looking for some classically built song: pass you have to pass your way. This one is full of extravaganza and fantasy. Wild synths and beat, decadent, bizarre, attractive. Innovative and different. Todd at his best. Finally!

The epic title track is divided into three parts of which the first is a rather conventional pop rock affair: nice sax, but fairly average melody and song writing. This is not at all an epic as we could have expected from a prog angle. After all, Donna Summer also released some epics, right?

This song smells as boredom for most of it; and even some Far-Eastern partitions, although welcome, won't change my mind. The second part of this "Healing" is still better, but at no time captive of my senses. These are twenty minutes not very well spent, I'm afraid. Not a second to blow you away, not a moment to say "wow!". Nothing great, unfortunately. I would call this as just a long song. Without too much content.

This is not a very good work. A basic and average rock album like there are tons of. The judgement is not being altered with both "bonus" tracks which are quite avoidable.

Two stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars 'hi' album i' a plea'ant, but mo'tly unmemorable 'et from 'odd Rundgren. A' on many of hi' album', 'odd play' all of the in'trument'. And that'' one of the drawback'. He 'eem' to gave gotten caught up in the new 'ynthe'izer technology of the time, and there i' very little of hi' 'oaring guitar work. And 'ome of the drum machine 'ound' are downright chee'y.

'he highlight of the album i' the three-part Healing, originally 'ide two of the record (the la't two 'ong' were on a 7" 45-rpm 'ingle in cluded with the album). On thi' piece, or 'et of piece', 'odd doe' 'ome wandering into prog territory. While 'till keeping it fairly light, there are 'ound' that 'wirl in and out of the mu'ic.

Another nicely done 'ong i' 'iny Demon', from the above mentioned 45, where 'odd 'ing' about the "demon'" that cau'e him to make mi'take'. Funny, and li'tenable.

'hi' i'n't a bad album, but it'' not where one 'hould 'tart when getting into Rundgren'' mu'ic.

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2965979) | Posted by JazzFusionGuy | Wednesday, November 1, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's a bit beyond me why this album has been so overlooked in Rundgren's catalogue. The album is certainly a product of its time, which means that anyone who doesn't like the sound of '80s synthesizers won't find much to enjoy here. It's also true that, because the songs are a bit more low-key t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1701335) | Posted by CassandraLeo | Sunday, March 12, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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