Friday, April 03, 2009
"I've decided right now, I'm changing the name of the album to Throw Money."
Call it a brilliant tour de force.
Rundgren's masterpiece covers much stylistic ground. Velcro yourself in, grab whatever helps you to listen to music and get ready to hear Motown, Beatles, Brian Wilson and Phil Spector all thrown in the blender and shaped into something radically different. Expertly performed and produced, he plays just about every note on the record (wth the exception of side four) and comes up with an impressive number of stellar pop songs.
Two records worth of music with very little filler makes "Something/Anything?" a good starting point for anyone interested in dipping a toe into his work. "Hello, It's Me" is re-recorded and shows up here at a much improved tempo. The Nazz's (his ex band) version of the tune sounds like everyone swallowed a handful of valium before the session. Snappily arranged, it became one of his best known songs. "I Saw the Light" is the other high profile cut that most people would recognize. Irresistible hooks lodge in your cerebrum after just one spin, making it one of those perfectly constructed pop songs.
Not much in the way of ROCK here, though a few tunes like "Black Maria" stray into that territory.
There are a few instances where he recycles keyboard driven motifs (lots of daunting space to fill) and injects silliness in the form of "Piss Aaron", "Slut" and the minute long "Intro". It remains entertaining without stretching the jokes beyond bearable limits.
Warning: Anyone familiar with Lawrence Welk will be irritated by the slices of audio verite count-ins on side four.
Without a doubt, he's one of those artists that wears all of the hats with ease and was also in demand as an engineer/producer. Look up his credits.
As a postscript, if you want to hear dead on covers of a few classics from 1966, get your hands on his 1976 album, "Faithful". "Good Vibrations" has to be heard to be believed.