"CRIMINAL that Warner Brothers has deleted this masterpeice from it's catalogue. CRIMINAL that anyone with a computer is allowed to write a reveiw. CRMINALly misunderstood by Todd's so-called cult.This album stands as the only masterwork in the later stages of Todd's career. The first four songs alone would qualify this as a work of genius for most other rock musicians. I am speaking of the original album form as "Three Little Hitlers" did not even appear on the original vinyl version. That song was originally a "Bonus" track on the CD and should have been placed at the end of the program. That is the only thing that I can criticize about this release.Any Todd fan who ever liked any of his "Philly-soul" influenced material will absolutly love this release. Along with those first four tracks, which includes "Can't Stop Running", "Hawking" is one of Todd's most personal and haunting composotions and is still frequently played in live performance. His version of the Tubes/Rundgren composition "Feel It" is beautiful and "Fidelity" is a very interesting song and concept, even if I don't agree with its' morality.This album was recorded digitally and live in the studio, which may account for some of the negativity being hurled at the "production". I find that to be curious as the tour which followed this release (with many of the same singers and musicians) was universally acclaimed as being briliant.Don't let any of these negative reveiws turn you off in any way. This is an excellent and ESSENTIAL release for any serious Todd Rundgren fan. I have read all these Todd lists and if you don't have this album in your Top 5 you folks have seriously missed the boat."
A colorful, soulful, memorable release
B | Rochester, NY United States | 06/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite being out of print, "Nearly Human" is Todd in top form - this one falls in my Top 5 Todd albums (impressive considering how many he has released), so don't overlook it due to its obscurity.
After 1985's experimental "A Cappella" (which was weird, yet largely accessible too), Todd took a whopping four years to release this. As opposed to his 80's material, "Nearly Human" has a much more organic sound. In fact, these songs were assembled with a huge line-up of talented people, and recorded live - a major difference from albums like "The Hermit of Mink Hollow" (and others) that Todd performed all by himself!
Thus, the sound is full and even overwhelming at times, loaded with lush layers of instruments and backup vocals. However, this is his most accessible set of songs in a long time, sticking to soulful pop hooks and introspective ballads.
The energetic "Want of a Nail" opens things up with a rousing, blue eyed soul rush; it's like one long hook. There's plenty more upbeat stuff on here, such as his amazing cover of Elvis Costello's "Two Little Hitlers", and the funky "Unloved Children" (which sewed the seeds, lyrically, for Todd's more politically oriented 90's work).
The lush, intricate pop of "The Waiting Game" is surely a highlight - it'll take a few listens to unravel all the details (the beautiful female backing vocals, etc) in the chorus alone. "Can't Stop Running" is another lush, mid-tempo pop/ballad with hypnotizing verses and a catchy, anthematic hook.
The ballads are fantastic too; "Parallel Lines" is heartbreaking and profound, also laced with a powerful chorus. Like many songs on here, this *should* have been a big hit. "Fidelity" has some interesting, thought-provoking lyrics, soulful crooning, and breezy woodwind flourishes (flute, namely). Todd's remake of The Tubes' "Feel It" (which I believe Todd wrote to begin with) is superb, and has a distinct old school soul feel to it.
These excellent songs are all upstaged by "Hawking", perhaps the quinessential 'introspective Todd ballad'. It has that deep, spiritual, soothing feel (like that of 1981's "Healing"), and an absolutely spine tingling vocal performance from Todd.
The album closes with the crazed gospel of "I Love My Life", which, at 9 minutes, does overstay it's welcome a bit. But it made a great encore live (plug: buy the Live in Japan DVD!).
I paid about $30 for this, and it was worth every penny and more. Along with "A Wizard, a True Star", "Liars", "The Individualist", and "Something/Anything?", this album represents Todd at his absolute best."
The Peak of White Boy Soul!!
D. Hawkins | Denver, CO United States | 05/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's amazing how two people can have wildly different opinions. The last person to review this said it deserved zero stars, but to my ears it's a masterpiece and was the best album of 1989! I hear Todd showing us the range of his beautiful voice, whether it's the perfect pop of "The Waiting Game" or the gospel-inflected "Hawking" (get ready for goosebumps). True, "I Love my Life" is a tad hokey, but he puts such zeal into his performance, you can forgive him for that. Since I only have the cassette of this baby (surprisingly still not worn out!), I probably should upgrade, and at this low price, you'd do wise to follow my lead!!"
D. Hawkins | 07/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember when this came out. It was acclaimed by many a hardened critic! A lot of what Todd has released since NEARLY HUMAN has been somewhat spotty, but he really put his heart into this one. Of course, if you have no appreciation for Philly Soul, layers and layers of vocals, creamy production, and glistening keyboard sounds.....well, you'll want to stay away. But, you'd be crazy to do so. ..."
Rare, overlooked, and brilliant
A friend of Mr. Speed | \United States | 02/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Nearly Human" is curiously hard to find. Maybe it's because Warner owns it, I dunno.What I do know is that this album changed my life. "Parallel Lines" triggered an epiphany and set me off on a course. "I Love My Life" is about as life affirming and rousing as any Southern Baptist Church howl.There's not a misstep on the entire album. Sure, it's nearly 15 years old now, but it still sounds good on every play."