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Todd Rundgren: Something / Anything

Todd Rundgren: Something / Anything

Analog Spark  ?

Stereo Hybrid

Pop/Rock


Todd Rundgren


This 1972 release, from Bearsville Records, was engineered by Todd Rundgren with a little help from his friends Rick Derringer, Billy Mundi, Moogy Klingman, Amos Garrett, Bugsy Maugh and Gene Didwiddie (both from the Butterfield Blues Band), the Hunt Brothers, Rick Vito, Jim Horn and the Brecker Brothers.

"Listening to Something/Anything? is a mind-altering trip in itself, no matter how many shamelessly accessible pop songs are scattered throughout the album, since each side of the double-record is a concept unto itself. The first is "a bouquet of ear-catching melodies"; side two is "the cerebral side"; on side three "the kid gets heavy"; side four is his mock pop operetta, recorded with a full band including the Sales Brothers. It gallops through everything -- Carole King tributes ("I Saw the Light"), classic ballads ("Hello It's Me," "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference"), Motown ("Wolfman Jack"), blinding power pop ("Couldn't I Just Tell You"), psychedelic hard rock ("Black Maria"), pure weirdness ("I Went to the Mirror"), blue-eyed soul ("Dust in the Wind"), and scores of brilliant songs that don't fall into any particular style ("Cold Morning Light," "It Takes Two to Tango"). It's an amazing journey that's remarkably unpretentious. Rundgren peppers his writing with self-aware, self-deprecating asides, indulging his bizarre sense of humor with gross-outs ("Piss Aaron") and sheer quirkiness, such as an aural tour of the studio at the beginning of side two. There are a ton of loose ends throughout Something/Anything?, plenty of studio tricks, slight songs (but no filler), snippets of dialogue, and purposely botched beginnings, but all these throwaways simply add context -- they're what makes the album into a kaleidoscopic odyssey through the mind of an insanely gifted pop music obsessive." - Allmusic.com, Stephen Thomas Erlewine

"Something/Anything? stands as perhaps the finest work released yet this year a blend of all conceivable colors and moods into one cohesive and constantly moving statement. After years spent standing just out of reach of the spotlight, Todd Rundgren has made his grand entrance. Perhaps Something/Anything? was consciously designed not as an exposition of genius, but as Todd's way of calling attention to himself, of saying 'Hey, it's me. I'm finally here and this time you'll remember my name.' If that's the case, then this album's primary value is as an introduction to the man adn an invitation to his future. It's an invitation that nobody can afford to pass up. Todd Rundgren's name may be worth its weight in gold, but you'll soon discover that his music is worth at least twice as much." - Ben Edmonds, Creem Magazine, 1972

"I'm probably the whitest singer in the world," Rundgren told Rolling Stone in 1972. "I have no 'soul' in the usual sense - but I can do this great feminine falsetto." On this tour-de-force double album, Rundgren employs that falsetto on two great singles in the vein of Carole King: "I Say The Light" and "Hello It's Me." For the rest of the album, he demonstrates his complete command of the studio, playing almost all the instruments himself, experimenting with a kaleidoscope of rock genres and even delivering a monologue on what poorly made records sound like, complete with examples of hiss and hum.

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Recording
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Analogue recording
Tracks
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1. I Saw The Light
2. It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference
3. Wolfman Jack
4. Cold Morning Light
5. It Takes Two To Tango (This Is for the Girls)
6. Sweeter Memories
7. Intro
8. Breathless
9. The Night the Carousel Burnt Down
10. Saving Grace
11. Marlene
12. Song of the Viking
13. I Went to the Mirror
14. Black Maria
15. One More Day (No Word)
16. Couldn't I Just Tell You
17. Torch Song
18. Little Red Lights
19. Overture - My Roots: Money (That's What I Want)/Messin' with the Kid
20. Dust in the Wind
21. Piss Aaron
22. Hello It's Me
23. Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me
24. You Left Me Sore
25. Slut
Comments (1)
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Comment by Downunderman - March 6, 2018 (1 of 1)

'Mastered from the original stereo tapes by Kevin Gray' and 'Authored by Gus Skinas' are the word here.

The fidelity of this album is higher than AWATS and sounds pretty good. It is also very clean sounding. My one gripe concerns the top end, which to my ears can be a touch shrill on occasions. Why this should be I don't know. These are old tapes (though probably not the master tapes?) and we seem to be looking at a flat SACD transfer (the average DR of 12 being the same as the CD released back around 1990).

Maybe Todd engaged in a bit of studio jiggery pokery to increase the high frequencies during the recording process? Fine for vinyl back in the day, but not so good with the much higher playback resolution you can get on SACD these days. Mere speculation on my part and it would be great to hear from someone who knows better.

Still, it is a great title and all in all it sounds very good. Worth buying? You bet!