Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything? (1972)
As an employer, I would have to grudgingly give Mr. Rundgren the job.
If the hiring were based on a checklist approach, he clearly does it all:
– He wrote 23 of the 25 songs, in a wide variety of genres.
– He played all the instruments & provided all the vocals on sides 1-3 of the double LP
– He produced the record
– He’s even credited with the Art Direction
As a portfolio demonstrating these credentials, Something/Anything? works well as a Resume/CV.
Which is where I’m glad I’m not an employer as for me, working on paper is nice, but it’s the intangibles that really matter. There are two key missing ingredients here:
1) Great songs. I admire the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach and Todd Rundgren certainly does many things competently. I really prefer albums where songwriting is paramount. There are no outright misses in the set but with the odd exception (Slut, Dust In The Wind) the songs aren’t memorable. It’s also worth noting those standout songs are both from the ‘live-off-the-floor’ side 4, the only side to feature other musicians.
2) To borrow a Queen album title, A Kind of Magic. Musical magic is not the easiest thing to define but for me, it’s not here. Instead of looking forward to each re-listen, it felt like 86 minutes of ‘look at what I can do.’ Talent shows are more effective in small doses.
So overall, good enough to be an Axl Rose favourite, good enough to be #173 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Albums list, but not one I see myself revisiting too frequently.