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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They say you always remember your first...
... Rundgren album. This album was the first I ever bought, and it contains some of the most engaging pop music ever to grace an aluminum polycarbonate sandwich. It's all composed of sounds made by Todd's voice (and other self-made sounds, such as handclaps). Some sounds have been heavily processed and you'll find it virtually impossible to believe that they started...
Published on June 12, 1998 by Jerry Kindall

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical Todd......Brilliant yet confusing
This one is yet another work from Todd that could have been much greater than what it turned out to be. Although the music is interesting in spots, and the true heart of Todd (all Todd fans know the "sound" I am referring to) appears here and there, it yet is another experimental work from this sometimes genius. Full of ego and sonic wonder, it can pull at the heart...
Published on March 15, 2006 by R. Carpenter


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They say you always remember your first..., June 12, 1998
This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
... Rundgren album. This album was the first I ever bought, and it contains some of the most engaging pop music ever to grace an aluminum polycarbonate sandwich. It's all composed of sounds made by Todd's voice (and other self-made sounds, such as handclaps). Some sounds have been heavily processed and you'll find it virtually impossible to believe that they started out as vocal sounds (although Rundgren's soulful voice, one of the best in rock, also makes plenty of appearances under its own recognizance, most notably on "Honest Work"). Never has one man's mastery of the studio as an instrument been so evident. I only give it 4 stars because Rundgren displays a regrettable tendency to repeat his choruses a bit too long before finally fading out. Still one of the best.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Todd Rundgren continues his studio wizardry, June 17, 1999
This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
Just when you think you've got Todd pinned down to either melodic ballads or hard-driving rock, he throws you something else that defies classification. Already a pioneer in rock video and a sought-after producer, Todd produces another album chock full of his wit and talent. "A Cappella" lives up to its name in that Todd sings vocals only on this album, but uses then-ground-breaking technology to mold these vocals into smooth, melodic songs that paint some very vivid pictures. "Lost Horizon", a song inspired by the death of a friend, remains a concert favorite, while "Pretending to Care" will give you food for thought about hidden agendas in your relationship. This CD is a lot more than just some silly songs sung and put through the electronic wringer -- there's a lot of depth and emotion few artists are able to express this well.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb album, July 14, 2000
By A Customer
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This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
This is a very different, but wonderful album. It won't sound like anything you've heard before (it's all done with voice and synthed voice), but you will be hooked. Beautiful music, meaningful lyrics. Pretending to Care and Lost Horizon are among my top Todd tunes ever. Something to Fall Back On should have been a hit. There's even a bit of silliness here and there (the song Hodja, and the children's bedtime tale Lockjaw, about an ogre who doesn't like liars...) Open your mind and heart and simply enjoy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Instruments need not apply, April 20, 2005
By 
B (Rochester, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
Like the title suggests, Todd Rundgren created "A Cappella" entirely with his voice. It sounds gimmicky, and it is..but, it really works. Due to computerized manipulation, he's even able to add percussion like sounds via his voice. So it doesn't sound as bare as you might think.

Songs like "Pretending To Care" and "Lost Horizon" are suprisingly lush and gorgeous considering this is all coming from one man's voice (albeit processed and meticulously layered). Both are extraordinarily good songs.

There's plenty of quirkier, lighthearted moments too - "Hodja" ('covered' by John Stamos et al on an early episode of "Full House"), a cover of The Spinners' "Mighty Love", and "Something To Fall Back On". The latter, as many other reviewers have said, is the ultimate 'hit that never was'. Although many Todd songs fall under that category, "Something.." is just *insanely* catchy and fun sounding.

Other highlights include "Johnee Jingo" (which sounds like an old protest song), the mysterious, majestic opener "Blue Orpheus", the frightening "Lockjaw" (Which manages to be 10x weirder than anything from "A Wizard a True Star" and "Todd"), and "Honest Work", which is a cappella in the truest sense (no processing at all - just Todd's regular voice).

It's ambitious, fascinating, strange, catchy, and many other adjectives. Don't be scared off by the gimmick, because it's really one of Todd's more accessible releases.

And what a trailblazer! 20 years later, Bjork does the same thing with "Medulla" (which I also highly recommend).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great collection, November 19, 2001
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This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
Once you get past the concept - the human voice creating all of the sounds heard on this you - you're left with a wonderful collection of songs made by one of the true musical genius' of our lifetimes. Pretending to Care and Blue Orpheus are wonderful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triple Entendre, January 23, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
This is one of Todd's most intriguing albums. I actually first heard it when a fellow in a local record store got me a bootleg of the master from Todd's mom a couple months before it was released. I wish I had that tape cause some of the tracks had radically different mixes. Oh, the title is a bit of a Triple Entendre: We all know A'Capella means without accompaniment (no instruments) which is largely true in the case of this album. An Emulator (early sampler) was used to process some of the audio. It is also without accompaniment in the sense that no other performers appear on this album. Finally, it is A'Capella in the spiritual sense as well. Literally, A'Capella means "for the chapel" for "for the church" while this is by no means a Christian Music album it is infinitely spiritual. This album has a message. Marvel over the fact the every sound on this album originated from a human body! All the percussion: cheek pops, tounge clicks, chest thumps, hand claps etc. It may sound like a drum machine, but it's actually Todd's voice or body. Electronically processed of course!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical Todd......Brilliant yet confusing, March 15, 2006
This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
This one is yet another work from Todd that could have been much greater than what it turned out to be. Although the music is interesting in spots, and the true heart of Todd (all Todd fans know the "sound" I am referring to) appears here and there, it yet is another experimental work from this sometimes genius. Full of ego and sonic wonder, it can pull at the heart strings and soak you up with sweet pop sounds one minute: "Lost Horizon," and "Blue Orpheus," and bombastic yet somewhat irritating noodlings of the next: "Miracle in the Bazaar" and "Lockjaw." Not his best work of the 1980's, (this kudo goes to the brilliant pop gem "Nearly Human" from 1989), but definitely a must have for any hardcore Todd fan's collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What were you saying?, May 14, 2001
This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
This hasn't dated all that well, mainly because it was such a product of the technology of its time. Despite the title, on half of these songs Todd actually sang into an Emulator, a vocal-processing device capable of distorting the human voice into different pitches and attacks -- which is why you hear drums on this thing. It's actually Todd going "puh!" and then fingering it on a keyboard. So it sounds a little more antiquated now than it did in 1985.
But the 4 stars come from -- yup, you guessed it -- the songwriting. Out of all the just-missed hits of his career, and there are many, "Something To Fall Back On" might be the most tragically gypped. It should have ripped up the charts in 1985. The technology was hip then, the hook was insanely great, and it came out in the summer when everybody should have been required to adopt it over their car stereos. It didn't work. We as a nation should feel very, very ashamed.
As far as the other stuff, Todd got socially conscious on "Johnee Jingo" (which, along with four other songs here, is truly and really a cappella with no Emulator) and did a damn good Marvin Gaye simulation on "Lost Horizon." It's more of an interesting experiment than a great pop record, but it's definitely an impressive feat that mixes both.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Todd's Most Vocal Album To Date, January 1, 2004
This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
Here is something fun to do: Play "Something/Anything" and right after that play " A Capella" just to hear how extremely different each album is from the other. In fact this is by far the strangest Todd Rundgren album that is out there. Almost each and every sound you hear on this album is his voice. I think Todd released this album to tick off Bearsville Records. Bearsville wasn't supporting Utopia and was pressing Todd for another solo release, so Todd coughed up A Capella with very strange(but kinda cool) songs like "Johnee Jingo", "Hodja", "Something To Fall Back On", and the somewhat creepy "Lockjaw". A cappella is a unique album in the rundgren collection, but I had to give four stars just because it is so darn weird.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It really is all voices!, April 5, 1999
This review is from: A Cappella (Audio CD)
Todd Rundgren, audio computer geek and producer extraordinaire, turns his talents to his own voice. While some Todd afficianados give this album thumbs-down for its self-indulgency, the result is a highly listenable and very interesting piece of audio engineering. Rundgren often seems to subscribe to the old "if you want something done right..." adage. He's so versatile he can get away with it. Every song starts out as a solid piece of pop craftsmanship. To that, add vocal range plus technical mastery. Equals very solid album. What the listener has to imagine for him/herself, however, is how these pieces sounded in concert performed by a living chorus of human individuals. If that were on disc somewhere, I would give it five stars.
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A Cappella
A Cappella by Todd Rundgren (Audio CD - 1990)
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