Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I've copped to my love for Rush, Billy Joel, Genesis, movie scores and various relics of 80s synth-pop, now it's time for me to just come right out and say, without shame, that I think Todd Rundgren is a goddamned musical genius.
If you know anything about Rundgren, this isn't much of a bold statement to make. But if you're not really into him -- or, perish the thought, have no idea who I'm even talking about -- admitting your appreciation of him pretty much tells everyone that you were one of those people who thought Alan Alda was the sexiest man alive back in the 70s. That's because Todd Rundgren is a sensitive, thinking man's rock star -- the original emo god.
Throughout his career -- which has spanned four decades -- he's released some of the most enduring yet strangely underrated pop and blue-eyed soul music in the business. He's always been on the cutting edge of experimenting with new sounds and new technology and even when he wasn't recording his own albums, he was writing or producing for others (The Tubes, XTC, Bad Religion, The Psychedelic Furs); he's been the guy behind the guy (or the girl, or the band) on dozens of hit songs and albums, and he's been a major influence on everyone from Matthew Sweet to Trent Reznor.
He's been mentioned on 30 Rock and, dubiously, was Mark David Chapman's second biggest musical obsession.
Bottom line: Rundgren rules.
No, I won't put up Bang the Drum All Day, but here now are three of my favorites from Todd Rundgren.
First, from 1982's The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect, it's Hideaway.
Next, a classic that I think is one of the best pop songs ever recorded: Hello It's Me.
And finally, from Rundgren's band Utopia (who were also brilliant, first album to last), here's Crybaby.