Todd Rundgren - State

by Kevin Wierzbicki

One of the most interesting things about Todd Rundgren is that you never really know which version of him will show up for a new album. Here Rundgren starts the album with a gift for fans of his proggier side with the '70s-leaning "Imagination," a dream that develops at a plodding pace to cathedral organ riffs, fluttering synth, looped vocals and an ominous bass tone; the song is nothing short of a retro masterpiece that would've fit in perfectly back when underground radio let lengthy sets of Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes and Camel roll. That one song is the only nod to the era though; "Serious" is a funky synth rocker that updates the Utopia sound, "In My Mouth" is dance club Todd (he even refers to himself as "DJ Odd" here), and "Ping Me" is 21st-century singer/songwriter Todd. Rundgren turns up the BPM's on "Angry Bird," "Party Liquor" and "Smoke," perhaps the three most modern sounding tunes on the album, while "Collide-a-Scope" is an exercise in weirdness that of course ends up sounding like pop perfection. As always, longtime fans and critics will debate whether State lives up to whichever Rundgren album happens to be their favorite but really that's a silly attitude to take; Rundgren is always in motion and he moves the listener to lots of gratifying places here.

Todd Rundgren - State

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