Monday, February 28, 2011
TODD ON MONDAY: A Not So Random Playlist Featuring Todd Rundgren
It's been a while since I've done a Todd Rundgren post on a Monday. This time, I was inspired by trawling through the library in search of inspiration. I kept stumbling over these odd tracks that I hadn't heard in some time, as well some songs that some of you may not have heard at all. Let's see if you enjoy these as much as I did.
NOT TONIGHT- THE NEW CARS
If you look up "ill-fated" in the dictionary, you will find a picture of The New Cars. The idea was ridiculous, no matter how much of a fan you might be of those involved--Todd Rundgren and Kasim Sulton replacing Ric Ocasek and the late Benjamin Orr for a tour, that had more cancellations than performances. Still, this first single is a killer.
SOMEDAY WE'LL KNOW- HALL, OATES & RUNDGREN
Written by Gregg Alexander, who was the New Radicals, and whose only record was full of the essence of Todd Rundgren, "Someday We'll Know" is another tune that should have been a hit. This version here is performed by Hall & Oates with Todd Rundgren. All involved deliver in spades.
WEAKNESS- CITY WINERY, 4/17/09
A song from Todd's 2008 release "Arena." Met with mixed feelings at the start, this record has gotten better with each listen, and this song in particular ranks among the best of Todd's career. This video was shot by me incidentally, which is why I chose to include this version. A+ performance, with B- audio and video. Sorry, but I never professed to be Michael Ritchie.
2005's critically acclaimed "Liars" sits atop of my all-time list of Rundgren albums. I know some who can't get beyond the electronics to notice the strength of the songwriting and Rundgren's vocals, which are some of his strongest to date. Most of the time, I do prefer something organic. Real drums over drum machines anyday. But "Liars" worked for me on every level. "God Said" and "Living" are the two I gravitate to most often, but this beautiful ballad got me this weekend.
PRETENDING TO CARE- 2005
"Today I am your chariot horse. Tomorrow I'm your albatross."
Ballads don't come more gorgeous than this, and this version, recorded live, 20 years after the original was for "A Cappella," could be definitive.
JUST ONE VICTORY- 1978
The "Utopian National Anthem" from a 1978 performance in Cleveland, I believe. Someone recently said on these pages, "If you can hear them sing, 'We may be losing now, but we can't stop trying,' without the hair on the back of your neck standing on end, you are officially not human." That's sort of how I feel about this. Heard the studio version from "A Wizard/A True Star" earlier this week while sitting in a friend's car, and it was like hearing it the very first time.
THE WANT OF A NAIL- PRESS RELEASE
A great song and a great video. Joyous, energetic and triumphant. Also includes one of my very favorite exchanges:
Interviewer: What do you have to say about this auspicious occasion?
Bobby Womack: Very suspicious
(Well, it's funnier in the video.)
I think you'll be feeling this one.