Todd Rundgren Album Reviews

As a pop musician, Rundgren’s strength and weaknesses are relatively self-evident; on the positive side he’s a skilled musician on multiple instruments, a strong vocalist with a hint of blue eyed soul, a gifted studio technician who’s produced landmark albums from The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, The Psychedelic Furs, Meat Loaf, and XTC, and a capable composer and arranger. On the other hand, his lyrics are often fluffy and lightweight, and his music is much more technically impressive than it is meaningful, although his goofy persona is often endearing in its own right.

But I find his magical run of early 1970s albums very enjoyable; the messy psychedelia of 1973’s A Wizard, A True Star is a particularly favourite of mine. From the mid 1970s, he arguably spread himself too thinly – he formed a band Utopia, while still maintaining a solo career and producing other artist’s records, but 1978’s Hermit of Mink Hollow is an excellent stripped down pop album. I’ve only covered his first five solo albums, plus Hermit; these are generally cited as his best. I’ve never heard his sixties albums with the Nazz, I’ve included a Utopia Anthology below, but I’ve never heard their full albums, and there are generally acclaimed Rundgren albums I should hear sometime.

Todd Rundgren Solo Albums (up to 1991)

Runt (1970)
Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren (1971)
Something/Anything? (1972)
A Wizard, a True Star (1973)
Todd (1974)
Initiation (1975)
Faithful (1976)
Hermit of Mink Hollow (1978)
Healing (1981)
The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect (1982)
A Cappella (1985)
Nearly Human (1989)
2nd Wind (1991)

Ten Favourite Todd Rundgren Songs

Just One Victory
Hello, It’s Me
Couldn’t I Just Tell You
Izzat Love?
Don’t You Ever Learn?
Can We Still Be Friends
International Feel
Baby Let’s Swing/The Last Thing You Said/Don’t Tie My Hands
Fade Away
Parallel Lines