Recorded in Todd's current home state of Hawaii, 'Arena' is yet another notable addition to Rundgren's remarkable career as a performer, songwriter, and producer. The album showcases his unique songwriting style and sonically captures the essence and energy of arena rock with bombastic, guitar-driven tunes like 'Mountaintop', 'Strike' and 'Mad', while the anthemic song 'Mercenary', transports you to a stadium with its epic chorus, with 'How Do You Like Me Now?' resounding to every seat in the house.
What a return to form for Rundgren! Arena
's baker's dozen, one-word-named tunes are from another time entirely: thoughtful, intense and expertly crafted rock songs that straddle the line between pop and prog. Rundgren continues to make music that pushes the envelope of his best work, regardless of current musical trends. The great songwriter and genius producer of Cheap Trick, the Runaways, Meat Loaf, Hall and Oates, and XTC is neither resting on his laurels nor performing his greatest hits at the Kansas state fair--although he did assume Rix Ocasek’s mantle with the New Cars, but that's something else entirely. The album title is ironic. Music like this hasn't been an arena draw in twenty-plus years. --Mike McGonigal