Rock ‘n’ Roll icon. Legend. Pioneer. You can hang all types of praise on Todd Rundgren and any word or phrase you choose will be an understatement. From bandleader (Nazz and Utopia) to solo artist to producer (Badfinger, XTC, Sparks, etc.), the singer/songwriter/musician has done it all. For 56 years, he has been a part of Rock and Pop’s musical tapestry with his songwriting, his chart successes, and his influence. From ‘We Gotta Get You A Woman” and “Hello It’s Me” to “Bang the Drum All Day” and Utopia’s “Crybaby,” his voice remains unique while his music evolves and changes. Never one to stand still, each of his albums explores new musical ground. He even recorded an a capella album called, strangely enough, A CAPELLA (1985). So, when a new Todd Rundgren album is released, not even the hardcore fans can predict what it is going to sound like.
But let’s go back to the beginning… After graduating high school in 1966, Todd Rundgren spent his time in several bands before forming Nazz in 1967. While the band only achieved minor success, their recorded output influenced many artists over the years thanks to Rundgren’s involvement with the band. After Nazz split, he began producing other artists before forming the band Runt. RUNT, the album, contained his first hit single, “We Gotta Get You A Woman,” which brought him to a wider commercial audience. Further solo hits such as “I Saw the Light” and “Hello It’s Me,” plus a series of classic solo albums made Rundgren a critical and commercial success. However, he was never one to stand still musically so he formed Utopia to explore his more Progressive and Rock leanings. Embracing modern technology, he also explored Electronic music and so much more. And we haven’t even touched on his career as a producer, which would fill the pages of a New York Times bestseller.
Five years since his last studio album – WHITE KNIGHT (2017) – Todd Rundgren returns with the star-studded SPACE FORCE album. Anyone expecting him to revert back to his SOMETHING/ANYTHING? sound doesn’t understand Todd Rundgren. SPACE FORCE is an album that sounds fresh, eclectic, and takes musical chances. And yes, he still relies on modern technology to move the songs forward. From Hip-Hop beats and soulful grooves to guitar riffing and Pop hooks, SPACE FORCE is a very modern album that may sound worlds away from “Hello It’s Me” but still retains the melodic charm of that young kid influenced by Rock ‘n’ Roll and Philadelphia Soul. SPACE FORCE is filled with collaborations with artists like NEIL FINN (CROWDED HOUSE/SPLIT ENZ), RICK NIELSEN (CHEAP TRICK), RIVERS CUOMO (WEEZER), SPARKS, ADRIAN BELEW (KING CRIMSON/THE BEARS), THE ROOTS, THOMAS DOLBY, THE LEMON TWIGS, and many others. The album is as eclectic as you’d expect, but the melodies and pure sense of creative fun are present throughout. It may not be Power Pop, but it sure is Pop with power!