Todd's 'I Saw the Light' a guilty pleasure??? A what??? Surely this can't be true, the track listing must be wrong... but if it IS true
Can I just take a moment to call out the compiler of this much-debated CD as a total and utter twat. I can't even begin to imagine why you'd feel guilt about liking one of the most ELEVATING and JOYOUS songs I can think of. No one I know really likes Todd Rundgren though. I have a few friends who respect him, who own a token CD (some even went the whole hog and bought a genuine release rather than the 'Go Ahead, Ignore me' best of, but they are like that anyway and shrink instinctively from the compilation), but certainly in this part of the world, my Toddophilia (teehee) is a plague of one.
Lets get one thing straight now. Music that makes you feel the electricity potent in your nervous system has nothing to do with guilt. You don't have to forgive yourself for grinning at the sentiment and delivery of 'We gotta get you a woman'; these are just tremendous songs, sung by a guy with a beautiful voice and a pretty fucking praise-worthy mastery of 3 minute pop. For God's sake, he was so good at writing these things, he gave it up and started doing more 'challenging' stuff instead (how I hate that word, but it seems the tossers who jeered and walked out of the RFH gig clearly felt it was a challenge beyond their capacity to answer). Anyway, I digress.
Todd's early records are just too damn happy. There's too much transcendence to be found there; too much to make you briefly feel more balanced in the world. You are not encouraged to feel like this any more. The tedious self-regard of the modern musician has nothing to do with joy, and everything to do with an utterly vapid seriousness (realise I am addressing the constituency of THIS specific compilation, all those itching to have a go), and so we arrive at our current malaise. Self-important boys with sharp collars and vintage Fenders, blithely under the mis-apprehension that I give a fuck about their position as inheritors, or champions of a past I hated anyway. Give me Todd. Give me the last two minutes of 'Just One Victory', which always make me feel like someone is brainwashing me into loving my fellow man. It is that serious...
'I want to... change the world'. He sings that. And he MEANS it. And occasionally, that's allowed.