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Utopia City in My Head album cover
3.94 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Freak Parade (10:18)
2. Freedom Fighters (4:03)
3. The Wheel (7:09)
4. The Seven Rays (8:54)
5. Overture: Mountaintop and Sunrise... (6:55)
6. Magic Dragon Theatre (3:29)
7. Eternal Love (4:50)
8. Trapped (3:07)
9. Love in Action (3:29)
10. My Angel (3:40)
11. Love Is the Answer (4:20)
12. Second Nature (2:37)
13. Set Me Free (3:11)
14. Caravan (7:00)
15. Love Alone (3:55)
16. I Just Want to Touch You (2:03)
17. Alone (2:12)
18. Life Goes On (2:22)
19. Feel Too Good (3:06)
20. Everybody Else Is Wrong (3:42)
21. Swing to the Right (4:23)
22. Fahrenheit 451 (2:49)
23. Only Human (5:14)
24. One World (3:28)
25. Utopia Theme (14:30)

Total Time: 120:46

Releases information

2CD Castle Essential #732 (1999) / CD Essential 732 (2000)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to T.Rox for the last updates
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UTOPIA City in My Head ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

UTOPIA City in My Head reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by soundsweird
4 stars For my money, this is the perfect Utopia compilation. I can't be sure, because I haven't heard all of their albums. However, it has almost all of the good stuff from the albums I have heard. After I listened to this, I went and checked out all of the individual albums that had songs on this 2-CD compilation that I thought were good. Invariably, the best songs from each album were on this comp., so there was no reason to buy any more of the individual albums (I already had a few). So, if you're not a huge "completionist" fan, this will do nicely.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Utopian?

While Todd Rundgren's solo work over the years has been so diverse that no one could possibly love all of it, his work with Utopia has been significantly more consistent. That is not to say that it has not changed at all, it has. Their migration from the prog of their self titled first album to the Beatles parody of "Deface the music" and the pop rock of their later albums, was however more subtle. While the band's line up changed significantly over the 10 years or so of their existence, Rundgren always remained in control.

Initially Utopia was based on Rundgren's backing band for his solo work (his solo career was to run in parallel with Utopia's), and was somewhat changeable, but it stabilised with the classic line up of Rundgren/Wilcox/ Sulton/ Powell when it also become more of a democracy. Vocal duties and writing credits were often shared by band as a whole. That said, Rundgren still actually wrote most of the material, had he left the band Utopia would undoubtedly have ceased to exist.

This compilations includes tracks from all seven Utopia releases up to "Swing to the right" in 1980, but none from the three they made after leaving Bearsville. They are presented in chronological order with the exception of "Utopia theme", the first track on their first album, which bizarrely closes this set. Over 30 minutes of music from that album is included, with only the 30 minute "The Ikon" missing. The fact that the collection is spread over 2 well filled CDs means that each album is well represented. Whether or not the best tracks have been selected is as ever a matter of taste.

The gradual migration of the band from long prog inspired, almost jazz prog pieces to much shorter pop orientated songs is more apparent when heard in the context of a compilation such as this. Utopia probably peaked around the time of "Ra", represented here by three tracks including the excellent opener "Overture: Mountain top and Sunrise". It is a pity space was not available for more of this album, such as the daunting "Hiroshima" and the prog fairytale "Singring and the glass guitar". The following "Oops wrong planet", which contributes 4 tracks, was more pop rock orientated but did include the pleasing ballad "Love is the answer".

By the time of 1980's Beatles/Rutles inspired "Deface the music", all traces of complex prog had been removed, and while "Swing to the right" restored the balance back toward rock rather than prog, tracks like the melancholy "Only human" were probably more suited to a Rundgren solo album (good as the song is!).

In all, "City in the sky" represents a fine budget priced way of discovering the music of Utopia, while dipping a toe in the water of Todd Rundgren's musically schizophrenic mind. The package is completed with some informative and well written sleeve notes.

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