Rundgren got very ambitious with his third solo album, the double LP Something/Anything?. The first three album sides are performed and produced by Rundgren alone, working with just an engineer. It’s also extremely eclectic, running the gamut from Gilbert and Sullivan showtunes to psychedelic freakouts. It’s also loose, broken up with skits, but it’s also relentlessly melodic and entertaining, and it’s one of the strongest sprawling double albums of its era. Some people criticise the novelty songs on the fourth side, but I’m fine with them; it’s not like sincerity and lyrics are Rundgren’s main strength, and I even enjoy the STD and heartbreak double entendres of the vaguely heartfelt ‘You Left Me Sore’.
Initially I wasn’t impressed by Something/Anything outside the obvious highlights – the opening double punch of ‘I Saw The Light’ and the Neil Young balladry of ‘It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference’, the power pop majesty of ‘Couldn’t I Just Tell You’ and the reworking of The Nazz’s ‘Hello It’s Me’ – but the remainder is also strong. Earnest ballads like ‘Marlene’ and ‘One More Day (No Word)’, the gospel of ‘Dust In The Wind’, the weirded-out ‘I Went To The Mirror’ (Rundgren’s excellent track by track liner notes suggest lying with your head between the speakers and looking into a mirror while listening), and even the synth instrumental ‘Breathless’.
I can understand someone being left cold by Something/Anything – it’s much more a technical achievement than an emotional one, but I enjoy it the whole way through and think it’s one of the best double albums of the 1970s.