Fast, cheap, and overlooked
Paul Pearson | 05/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If my CD clock is right, this is Todd's shortest album. It's also underrated, if only because it's a stopgap between albums of extreme experimentation, "Healing" and "A Capella". It's a lot like "Hermit of Mink Hollow" from about a half-decade earlier, except fortified with more synthesizers and production values. And the songs are all pretty terrific (with the exception of "Chant," which just gets too hyperactive for my personal tastes). "Hideaway" and "There Goes Your Baybay" are full of the pop style Todd couldn't divorce himself from if he tried. "Drive" is my personal favorite arena-rocker of his. If there's one short-coming it's the somewhat muddy production -- there's a whole lot of treble noises competing for that one frequency, and sometimes they just step over each other. But you can still hear the songwriting. And yes, this is the album that contains "Bang the Drum All Day," which became a major sports-arena staple more than ten years after its release."
A melting pot, sorta
B | Rochester, NY United States | 06/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I think I read that Todd kind of tossed this one off to fulfill a contractual obligation, which explains its sorted nature. This feels more like a collection of songs than an album (the complete opposite of its predecessor, the outstanding "Healing").
Thus, you have everything from mid-tempo, introspective rockers ("Drive", which sounds Utopian if you know what I mean) to lighthearted, Gilbert & Sullivan styled novelty songs ("Emperor of the Highway").
In fact, most of Todd's albums have some sort of goofy pop song that helps lighten the overall mood, and show off his sense of humor ("Piss Aaron", "An Elpee's Worth of Toons", "Onomatopoeia", etc.) And actually, this album has another one - "Bang on the Drum". Eventually, one of those novelty songs had to catch on! Although it's sad that many people only know Todd for that goofy (albeit catchy and fun) song!
There is more serious stuff to be found, however. "Influenza" is a synth-heavy ballad with a bossa nova beat (thus was a natural fit for his "With a Twist" project). "There Goes Your Baybay" is another pop-ish ballad with an even more overt bossa nova/salsa beat. The breakup ballad "Don't Hurt Yourself" also works well, and would've fit in perfectly on "The Hermit of Mink Hollow".
He also randomly covers "Tin Soldier", by The Small Faces..a song which I've never heard, so I can't say much to compare them. I like Todd's, but I'm not gaga over it or anything.
Then, there's the opener and closer: "Hideaway" and "Chant", respectively. The latter is a beat heavy, "let's love, not fight" type protest-pop song (perhaps a leftover from Utopia's "Swing to the Right"). It's not exactly "Love is the Answer", but it's pretty catchy, and fit well on his No World Order tour.
The former is a song that I always tend to forget about, but everytime I hear it, it just blows me away. Good enough to be in my Top 10 Todd songs, perhaps. Just a fantastic pop song with Todd on the top of his game in all forms. Great melody, great hook, great vocals. Proves that a pop song can be reflective and serious, yet blissfully catchy at the same time. Todd's a master at it!
Since this is long out of print, the price (about $25) is pretty steep for a short (35 minute) record that is probably in my bottom 3 of all of Todd's albums. The songs all range from good (most) to superb (one, really). But like I said before, it has that random, 'stopgag' feel to it. So I'd probably recommend it to hardcore Todd fans only, even though there's some really good stuff on here."
Not his best, but has some nice moments....
Paul Pearson | 11/11/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, this is NOT the place to start for first time Rundgren listeners (try Something/Anything?, Hermit of Mink Hollow or Nearly Human for that) but for all the negative comments on this disc, it does contain some fine moments. "Hideaway" and "Influenza" are wonderful pop tunes. Rundgren said he put little effort into this recording but sometimes the distance he puts between himself and the material makes some great (if not essential) pop music."