Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Rundgren tries to out-do The Rutles on Deface The Music

Utopia : Alone

On September 24, 1980 Utopia released Deface The Music, an album that apparently confused fans. Todd Rundgren had said Utopia never had a set sound and would never be predictable. My own theory is Rundgren watched The Rutles one night and decided he could write faux Beatles songs better than Neil Innes. He doesn't. But that doesn't mean Deface The Music isn't a fun way to spend 32 minutes, playing spot the influence. "Alone" may be based on "And I Love Her" but it stands on its own.

Rolling Stone's David Fricke seemed to appreciate the exercise, writing:

A literal rewrite of the Lennon-McCartney songbook may seem as pointless as a new Knack LP. But Utopia–and Rundgren, in particular–have always had a talent for this sort of snappy, crackling pop. Besides, the ingenious, engaging way they go about it here is a tribute to the spirit of fun that marked the originals. That kind of imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

"Take It Home", inspired by "Day Tripper", is another song that stands on its own. Think Cheap Trick with more cowbell.

Side Two takes on the psychedelic era with fewer good results. Rundgren's Beatleisms would come in handy when he produced Psychedelic Furs' Forever Now and XTC's Skylarking  years later. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This was some great stuff. When he's good, he's very, very good. Nice post. ~casey