Liane Carroll a jobing jazz singer from Hasting in the UK, has released an album called Ballads. The Ronnie Scott regular inlcudes on the album a version of Todd Rundgren's classic Pretending to Care
Monday, April 15, 2013
The latest offering from Todd is described in the press release as "a contemporary fusion of rock, soul and electronica that is at once danceable, ground-breaking, spiritual, challenging and infectious." Now I love Todd as much as the next man (actually I have just seen the next man, and I love him way more than that) but 'ground-breaking' ?? In the past, certainly, but there is nothing ground-breaking on State. State, despite its eclecticism and Todd's desire to recapture that experimental sounds feel of his 70s work, whilst channelling modern influences from contemporary music, is still very much Todd, and several of the tracks on State would have sat happily on past releases. In fact, part of my is slightly disappointed that this is not more of a dance dj type record – and more of a true experimentation in the way New World Order was. That remains Todd's true dance record. But what of it. Let's do a track by track.
This starts off with us very much back in the time of Healing, and then just as you feel drawn in by the sweet synth sound, WACK, suddenly you're hit with Black Sabbath –''Black Sabbath' guitars. Meanwhile, vocally the styling is that used on Arena (Bardo esp). It does kind of work though. At 8 minutes he can't be accused of trying to hook you in quickly [track one, side one, after all is meant to be the hit single!] but this would slide into an Arena set quite happily and I quite like it.
The weird thing about this and it's not just one this track, but I think there is a fine line between the contemporary sound and sounding a bit 80s. I found myself thinking of Peter Gabriel's album 'So' during this track, or even Duran Duran during the Nile Rogers production phase. Also some of the vox seem a nod to Hot Chip. That all said, there is no denying that it is a catchy little pop ditty, and the one track that shouts 'hit' on the record.
3. IN MY MOUTH
This does have a nice dance beat running through it. A solid todd soul ballad.
4. PING ME
Musically one of the more interesting cuts on the record. I love everything except the chorus in fact – or at least the lyrics.
5. ANGRY BIRD
The novelty song. Silly.
I am worried that the start of this track just reminds me of the song Turbo Lover of Judas priest's Turbo album …however it then morphs into a nice kicking dance beat, and develops into one of the stand out tracks on the album. One of the few times the attempt to merge old todd with contemporary sounds works.
Here again, the old and new merging works well, in a track which might have been my favourite track were it not for the fact that it suffers from being 2 minutes too long.
8. SOMETHING FROM NOTHING
This is just a lovely song. It could have found a place on Liars or Nearly Human easily. Hints of 'If I have to be Alone' fade into a classic todd ballad, and the presence of Rachel Haden just works a treat. The albums stand out track.
9. PARTY LIQUOR
This is both dreadful and annoyingly fun. Foot tappingly stupid. I am smiling as I write this.
10. SIR REALITY
The more and more I listen to album, the more this becomes my favourite track on it. Epic end to the record.
So..., my overall opinion? His weakest album for some time, but not without moments that remind you just why you like the guy. Not an album that is likely to get many re-spins in 5-10 years time. Merely a good Todd album.
Posted by Scott at 9:18 AM