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Utopia CD

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Audio CD, CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B0000032P0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,839 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Utopia Theme
2. Freak Parade
3. Freedom Fighters
4. The Ikon

Editorial Reviews

Utopia's first album - a break away from Todd's romantic pop leanings to a more progressive "fusion" sound.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
I hope you will too!
Eric J. Hradecky
Todd Rundgren"s Utopia is my favorite album by Utopia.
I have played this album many time's over the year's.
Charles E. McGehee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Juliet Blake on August 7, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
By turns it's art-rock, ethereal, a dash of fusion and even pop--reflecting the trends of the period and also some of the more progressive cross-pollination. I adore this album, I rue the day this line-up disbanded and TR trimmed down this glorious type of music to a streamlined 4-pc. group w/less experimentation. Though Utopia went on to create some fine stuff showcasing Todd's genius for songcraft, nothing ever again equaled this in terms of scope and majesty.
I don't know if he took the bad press to heart or what. It's a shame that those who can't handle sophistication and complexity when it comes to rock music have to pan something like this. The simple 3-chord garage/punk/metal etc. will always be around; just think what a dull, monochromatic world it would be if that was all there was.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. Recchia on June 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard this album in either 78 or 79, I was still very much into hard rock and heavy metal groups like Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Rush, Kiss, and Black Sabbath, so it was kind of surprising that I took to this album so fast. I personally think it's the best Utopia album and maybe the best thing that Todd Rundgren has ever done, before or since.

Utopia began life as a six piece, outer space jazz fusion, progressive metal outfit. The band had two keyboard players, one synthesizer player, and (obviously) a drummer, bassist, and of course, a guitarist and vocalist by the name of Todd Rundgren. For a six piece unit, they were awful darn tight, although all six members are given a chance to stretch out and solo on their respective instruments. And...remarkably for music this weird and complex....the musicians don't really sound like they are showing off. The whole album is very musical and highly listenable.

The album is very daring in it's song lengths...... the first song is 14 minutes long, the second one 10 minutes, the third just four minutes and the last one 30 minutes. And at a time when bands were afraid to put more than 20 minutes per album side ( back in them golden days of vinyl records), Utopia put nearly 29 minutes on the first half and 30 minutes on the second, the whole thing (just in case you didn't have your calculator out) clocking in at nearly an hour!

The first song, " Utopia " ( or " Utopia Theme ", depends on whether you have the cd or vinyl version), is probably my favorite song on the album.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Squire Jaco on May 23, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I'm an avid prog rock fan, but I also have a pretty extensive collection of Todd, whose music most may view as "eclectic" if nothing else - dabbling at times in pop, prog, electronica, computer-based effects, etc. So if you never spent the time to get to know the Todd beyond his Carole King-like ballads, then you might have missed some pretty cool music of his. (You also would have missed some not-so-great stuff in and around, but we won't go into that here;-)

He was perhaps at his proggiest in 1974 and 1975 when he gave us "Todd Rundgren's Utopia" and followed it up with his "Initiation" album (which I've already gone on record as promoting as a personal "Top 5" album). But this Utopia album is different from all of the subsequent Utopia albums in one major way: the personnel that comprised all subsequent studio albums of the prog-pop Utopia were Todd, Kasim Sultan (bass), Roger Powell (keys), and John Wilcox (drums), while this one-off first Utopia album consisted of Todd, John Siegler (bass), Kevin Ellman (drums), and THREE keyboardists: Moogy Klingman, Ralph Schuckett, and Jean-Yves "M. Frog" Labat. Different sound and different musical focus.

The bottom line here is that this album is really something special for prog fans. The opener, "Utopia Theme", was recorded live in Atlanta, and really is superb for all of its 14 minutes, featuring GREAT guitars (by TR), synths, vocals, melodies, and mystical lyrics. The remainder of the album is studio recorded. The 10-minute "Freak Parade" begins with a great vibe, and ends with the solo bass line fading out. In between, you get a little Zappa-like quirkiness - a bit weird for me in places, but it does hold together pretty well. "Freedom Fighters" is not quite as "poppy" as some reviewers might have you believe.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By woodsman on March 2, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've had this for years on cd and have waited patiently for it to be carefully remastered. I'm not drawn to the rest of Rundgren's catalog- most of it being a bit too "pop" for my liking, but give him credit for being a great balladeer nonetheless. This recording, however, raised the bar with his ability to compose and conduct a full-on rock band. The title track is simply astonishing-- a gorgeous melody woven into some of the most fiery, punishing progressive rock you'll likely to hear from the 70's. These are PLAYERS!!! Unfortunately, the initial release on cd, as well as the vinyl pressings have an annoying harshness to them- the keyboards border on screechy, and are not so easy on the ears. Thankfully, the Japanese have reissued them using K2HD mastering, and they did a fantastic job! I wasn't too happy with this type of remastering on previous discs (PFM's "Photos of Ghosts" contains tape hiss, and ELP's catalog was so-so) but this one they nailed. The harshness on keys and synthesizers was rounded out and the full spectrum of bass and guitar can now be heard. Let's hope the folks at Rhino can do as good a job here at home, and re-release it. I'd say buy this one while you can. Will. CT USA
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