Monday, March 4, 2013

40 Year Itch : You Want The Obvious

Enter the "unpredictable" phase of Rundgren's career, which is going on (40) years now.
-The New Rolling Stone Album Guide

There's a lot more studio wizardry on A Wizard, a True Star than star-making songs. Not wanting to live up to the "male Carole King" label, Rundgren appears to have deliberately left behind almost all of the singer-songwriting ear candy that made Something/Anything? such a pleasure and, instead, seeks to dazzle us- in short lysergic snippets- with his genius.

"Psychedelics brought me to an awareness of myself that I'd no comprehension of previously", Rundgren said. " You don't know you're 'you' until you've had your ego stripped away and you realize you're all that stuff." 

He's monkeying with your stereo this time out and your ears will lap it up. Wide, weird, wired and wonderful
-Warner Brothers ad

When Rundgren delivered the 53 minute single disc album, not everyone at Warner Brothers was thrilled.
"It was like I had lit off a stink bomb in the record office," Rundgren says. "There was just so much commotion and recriminations like 'Why did you do this?' What were you thinking and yaddiyaddiyadda.."

There are some fully realized songs on Wizard, especially the single " I Don't Know What To Feel", album opener "International Feel" , "Zen Archer" and concert closer "Just One Victory". The  medley "I'm So Proud/Ooh Baby Baby/La La La Means I Love You pays tribute to Philadelphia soul before breaking out into "Cool Jerk".

In retrospect, the patchwork of songs on Side One sounds like a demo reel for Todd Rundgren, producer. I'm sure XTC heard all kinds of possibilities for Skylarking in tracks like "Dogfight Giggle".

In late 2009, Rundgren began touring the album after discovering Wizard has a whole new set of young fans including the bad Hot Chip.

1 comment:

  1. Well ya, Todd Rundgrens' wasn't just another brilliant mind, he was the musical genius' musical genius, especially in his 70's glory days. As such, he's largely remained out of lockstep with the following throngs, and precious few (count on one hand) have ever been, either before or since, remotely within reach of the heights to which his ascent would take him during that heady phase.