The Verb To Todd
Andre S. Grindle | Brewer Maine | 12/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even in the always surprising musical world of 70's pop Todd Rundgren always seemed to be turning heads. Looking back it probably has little to do with his genre bending style as it does with the creative way in which he handles all the melodies,harmonic variations and chord changes he uses so well within all his musical concepts. The song comes first and because Todd loved to bring in elements of the more densely chorded 70's style soul into his pop music as opposed to just working with one variation of the 12 bar blues after the other. The interesting thing about this album is that it includes one half of covers,apparently music that inspired his own. They're all 60's rock hits and all are interestingly presented very very close to the originals but done extremely well. "Good Vibrations" and "Rain" are in fact carbon copies but showcase Rundgren as an excellent mimmic as well as someone with very good taste in pop music. Of his originals "Black And White" and the oddball rock n soul groove of "Boogies (Hamburger Hell)" are the most rock guitar oriented the the harder edged of the tunes here,even though both have a certain abstract touch that Rundgren was able ready and able to blend into even his poppiest music. And for that "Love Of The Common Man" and "Clishe" are excellent examples of Todd's soul/pop singer-songwritet style. The most impressive song here is the nearly eight minute "The Verb "To Love"" which definately extends Rundgren's writing style and ability at creating expressive chord changes to the next level. It's no secret that Songs in the Key of Life came out this same year because that style of songwriting was having a very strong effect on Rundgren here. Even though I am sure most Rundgren fans think of his music more in a pop/rock context than a soul inflected one. He sure had a strong streak of albums though with wonderful artistic results and this ranks as definately one of them."