Thursday, 24 December 2009

Noughty but nice (Part 2) – The Todd edition

Regular readers will know I’m a big Todd Rundgren fan. In the New Year I intend to write some posts to explain this to non-believers. His 70s output was phenomenal, the 80s patchy but ended on a high with Nearly Human, the 90s were a total write-off with rapping and bossa nova versions of old hits but what of his Noughties output?
Well, there’s been a fair amount of activity. In 2004 he released Liars to rave reviews, some even proclaiming it his best since the 70s. I wouldn’t go that far but there was some good stuff on it including the single Soul Brother which has quite an amusing dig at todays so called R&B singers.

Todd Rundgren - Soul Brother (2004)

For some god knows what reason he decided in 2008 to follow this eclectic collection with an album of arena rock. Hands up who likes arena rock? Exactly! Fortunately this was Todd’s version of arena rock and a few good songs could be found buried in this fairly mediocre collection. Here’s one of them.

Todd Rundgren - Courage (2008)

Best of all, and I think I might be in the minority here, was his brief stint as singer in The New Cars – that’s The Cars minus Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr (the singers for the uninitiated) and Dave Robinson (drummer). Bass and drums were played by Todd’s friends Kasim Sultan and Prairie Prince. A pragmatic Todd referred to this project as "an opportunity ... for me to pay my bills, play to a larger audience, work with musicians I know and like, and ideally have some fun for a year." This curious Cars/Utopia hybrid toured and released one live album with three new studio songs. I have no idea what the rest of the album sounds like but one of the new songs, Not Tonight, is the best thing I’ve heard from Todd in years. It shows how Todd as Cars singer is not such a ridiculous idea as it manages to sound like classic Cars and it’s the type of melodic pop/rock I like to hear from him. However, maybe that’s just me because I’ve seen lots of negative feedback on the interweb.

The New Cars - Not Tonight (2006)

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