Todd Rundgren: State


toddTodd Rundgren
(Esoteric Recordings)

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Arpeggiated keys kick off “Imagination,” the first track off Todd Rundgren’s new album, State. The Hermit of Mink Hollow assures us “I am what I am,” singing stark verses over a big drum machine beat and floaty keys, mixed with a heavy, ominous bridge and chorus of big power guitar and organ. There’s also some great wailing guitar added in too.

We’re in familiar, tight, Todd disco-like material (you recall “Bang The Drum All Day”?) for “Serious” with its sing-able chorus. The soft key bass funk of “In My Mouth,” a Vocodor-led track, could be as much Hall and Oats as T. Rundgren. There’s also the sneaky running keys of “Smoke” and the throw-away disco of “Party Liquor.”

“Angry Bird,” along with “Ping Me,” have been said to be Rundgren tipping his hat to the now, and though the latter works better for me with its certainly more important lyrics and Todd’s soulful vocals, “Angry Bird” is a kind of fun, funky, Prince-like guitar mover.

“Collide-A-Scope” is a mélange of metallic farts and spurts that somehow works with, again, some introspective lyric couplets and Rundgren’s masterful production. “Something From Nothing” is a slow ballad that might have been better sans the same sound palette. However, “Sir Reality,” the last tune of the ten here is truly great Todd, with its wailing guitar, solid lyrics and dramatic key flourishes.

Let’s face it, Todd-is-God still has something to say and an interesting way in which to say it. State reveals this American icon’s present state.

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