Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Todd Rundgren - Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren (1971)
I've been looking to upload this album for awhile, but I like the variety my blog has so I try to space out posts that have the same artists. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren builds off what was established in Runt. The "Runt" persona built around a quirky and dark humor turns to a slower side with an album primarily composed of ballads. As far as early Todd Rundgren albums go, this is the most dominated by Rundgren's piano playing. Even Something/Anything? doesn't have the myriad of ballads or relaxed tunes like this album does. "Long Flowing Robe" starts out at the album and is ironically the one really uptempo, upbeat track on the album. From its opening seconds with the electric harpsichord and the ironic lyrics "Long Flowing Robe" has a witty sense of humor about a lustful man and excellent use of overdubbed vocal harmony by Rundgren. After the opening track, the album goes to a depressing side as the album artwork would suggest. "Wailing Wall" is the next standout track whose lyrics suggest an elaborate personification of his own depression which reveals itself throughout the progression of the track. The lyrics match well with the sparse treble piano chords accompanied by a low bass line and Rundgren's soft falsetto that show real emotion. "The Range War" is noteworthy because of the typical Rundgren quirky humor which is evident throughout his career. "Chain Letter" starts out with Rundgren's falsetto voice accompanied by guitar and builds to an rhythmically upbeat section. That being said, the intro recalls an old love and the following section comments on the disillusioned voice of the intro. The next highlight and my favorite track of the album is "Be Nice to Me." The handbells really add a great layering effect to a track full of Rundgren's treble piano full of treble chords and a driving bass line." As usual, this track owes a lot to Rundgren's soft falsetto and the numerous instances of vocal harmony being overdubbed. If you liked my post of Runt or like the hits like "Hello It's Me" or "I Saw the Light," The Ballad of Todd Rundgren is definitely worth a listen.