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Utopia Extra tracks, Import
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Top Customer Reviews
But the three-sided artifact those silly Utopians left is great -- tremendous tight harmonies, crystal clear production and glistening guitar runs, clever lyrics, too-cool melodies -- it's a solid, consistently superior package. It's hard to put this on and not feel the infectious, upbeat, intelligent melodies put you in a better mood - from the clever "Princess of the Universe," to the moody "Bad Little Actress" to the Beatlesque "Chapter and Verse," to the should-have-been hit rock ballad "There Goes My Inspiration." Add to that the hits (for Utopia)"Feet Don't Fail Me Now" and "Hammer in My Heart" and you have an irresistable top notch package. As this will surely go out of print again soon, I recommend this for any serious music collector, and the casual Todd fan as well.
On to the music...
Utopia was their first and only release on Network Records in August 1982 after having parted with Bearsville after the release of Swing To The Right in February. Bearsville wasn't the only one to suffer a departure as bassist Kasim Sulton had also left the band. The band began the recording sessions with Doug Howard taking Kas' spot. About a third of the way through the recording sessions, Kasim returned. Partly because the band was on a new label they decided to go with a more straight ahead pop/rock/new wave sound. The album was recorded fairly quickly and Todd replaced his Strat and SG with a Telecaster.
Originally, I found the album to be really good but I was slightly disappointed in it's more pure pop direction overall. However, over time this has really grown on me. I've always liked songs like Feet Don't Fail Me Now, I'm Looking at You But I'm Talking to Myself, There Goes My Inspiration and Princess of the Universe but I've also come to dig songs like Bad Little Actress, Say Yeah, Call It What You Will, Forgotten But Not Gone and Chapter and Verse. This version also includes the extended Hammer In My Heart. It's an album that, for me, has aged gracefully over the years.
Lovers of Todd's very early or recent material may find this too bland. However, I have enjoyed each stage of Todd's work.
Vocal harmonies are a favorite of mine, and there is an abundance here on this album. On this CD, I found it very enjoyable to hear all four singers have a turn to lead, and the background vocals are featured loudly enough to where one can make out each particular singer doing their thing, which can be very cool and adds to the relistenability. Each singer is quite competent, and Kaz of course has an excellent voice as always.
This band deserved so much better a fate than the relative obscurity under which it toiled.
It's the prog fan in me that brought me to Todd's "A Wizard, A True Star", then "Todd Rundgren's Utopia". Over the years, I've found many a TR/Utopia LP that I listened to, enjoyed three or four tracks fully, maybe appreciated one or two more, and felt turned off by the rest. ("Swing to the Right" was the nadir, with only "Lysistrata"'s name bringing good musical memories.)
I almost fast-forwarded an Internet radio station when Utopia's "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" (from this album) came on a "Gentle Giant"-themed radio station. Say what? My preoccupation with work ended up being a major bonus that got me to the surprisingly catchy chorus, which avoids being saccharine due to the fact that none of the four has a particularly sweet voice (each has its own edge).
And so I started looking around to see if I could find a copy of the song. My only hope was (gulp!) buying the CD. Listening to the sound samples on Amazon, I gulped harder. This didn't sound very friendly.
I received the CD yesterday. I am in _awe_. I played it three times last night (a rare feat for me). There are so many insanely great "nerdy-chords-meets-catchy-melody" moments that few apart from Utopia could pull off that I can't really get bored listening to it. I wonder, had "Perfect Heaven" been pulled off the album so that everything could fit on one 45-minute LP, if the album would have fared better in the shops.
Definite highlights are "Neck on Up", "Say Yeah", "Burn Three Times", "Call It What You Want", and the aforementioned "Feet Don't Fail Me Now".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Todd & Utopia Remastered is much better than the original release way back when CD's just kinda well sucked most of the time. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bluesman
Most reviewers have covered why this album is worth getting if you're a fan of Todd or pop music in general. I just have one addition. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Tony Sclafani
I haven't heard this album since it originally came out in the 80's. It sounds as good as I remembered. Read morePublished 22 months ago by J. Michael
This album is completely fun to listen to. Catchy well done pop songs with great harmonies, tight musicianship and great guitar work from Todd. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Mike
Having been deeply immersed in anything Todd Rundgren for the last five years,its a bit interesting that my first assured exposure to his music was through Utopia and not his solo... Read morePublished on June 22, 2014 by Andre S. Grindle
Everything I expected it to be. Very pleased with entire purchase from beginning to the end. Thank you very much!Published on May 22, 2014 by stephanie singer
There are 3 or 4 tunes on this disc that should have gotten Utopia much more airplay back in the day. Read morePublished on March 25, 2014 by Mike Wrbelis