One Long Year

TODD RUNDGREN: One Long Year (Artemis)Over the last decade or so, Todd seems to having a major identity crisis. Is he a white rapper? Is he a lounge singer? Is he a rock and roll god? Is he a techno dweeb? Is he an R&B crooner? What about the whole Broadway thing? The songs on One Long Year were originally produced for his 'music subscription service', where you basically pay Todd to produce music. It's a shame, however, that someone with TR's immense talent can't come up with anything better than this. In recent years, he's produced a few decent songs here and there, but he hasn't produced a consistently good solo album since Nearly Human (and even that had a few duds on it).

The disc gets off to a good start with the first single, "I Hate My Frickin' I.S.P." The tune sounds like something from the later Utopia days, but with a Liz Phair melody. "Bang on the Ukulele Daily" is a 'Hawaiian remake' of "Bang the Drum All Day," with choruses lifted from "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." It makes for an interesting novelty track, but it's not something you need to hear more than once. "Where Does the Time Go?" is a nice pop tune that dates back to the Acapella era. Rundgren originally released the song on the import Somewhere/Anywhere album in demo form. Todd reprises his classic "Love of the Common Man" on the new disc, although this time out it sounds like something that should've been on the lounge-y With a Twist CD. It's nicely done, but leaves you asking the question: why mess with the original?

I'm not quite sure what to say about "Yer Fast (And I Like It)." The verses are cool, but the chorus sucks ("I like it, I like it, I like it"…). Even so, it's a catchy tune, and features a guitar solo by Rundgren that rocks harder than anything he's done in years. The two best songs are "Buffalo Grass" (which features more great soloing by Todd) and "Hit Me Like a Train." One Long Year is definitely a mixed bag. There are too many musical styles to appeal to anyone but the diehard Todd fans, and even they may have problems listening to this CD all the way through.

© 2000 Steve Marshall

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