Forgotten Gems of Rock and Roll: Something/Anything?

19 April 2015 in Heroes -

Something/Anything? by Todd Rundgren.

As you listen to modern music repeatedly in coffee shops, you start to develop this supernatural ability to discern music recorded on analog tape and music captured digitally. Maybe not as useful of an ability as flying or shooting fireballs but definitely rewarding when you discover a new artist via this technique.

(Disclaimer: only works for hardcore fans of ‘70s classic rock spending the majority of their time chilling in third-wave coffee shops that blasts good music from an Apple certified device on decent quality speakers.)

There is something to the tone of music that cannot be replicated. I believe Neil Young could add words on that topic with Pono, just ask him. And that is how I identified “Couldn’t I Just Tell You”, the first time I heard it, in a café. Right in the midst of my multi-instrumental endeavors, I was surprised to learn that Todd performed alone on the majority of this double record.

Something/Anything? is Todd Rundgren’s third solo album released in 1972. If you’re not familiar with power pop, this record could easily be its definition in a dictionary. A combination of popular compositions with a good balance of cherry-picked rock and roll on top.

I am truly amazed whenever I discover that a certain song has been recorded by a single individual performing all instruments on it. But when it’s an entire album, I just can’t believe it. Plus the funny thing is, it grooves, and that is probably the hardest challenge for a one-man band.

Rundgren is a guitarist above all and frankly the drumming isn’t amazing, but it did the trick on the opening song “I Saw The Light” and it became one of his most well-known rock ballads. You might have also heard “Hello It’s Me”, Rundgren’s biggest hit that features a skillful horn section by the renowned Brecker Brothers.

My personal favorites are “Black Maria” and “Dust In The Wind”. The former is a slow-paced yet pounding heavy rock track that showcases Rundgren’s brilliant ability to simulate a jam band by himself. The latter is a cover written by Moogy Klingman reminiscing of soul as well as rhythm and blues music with the beautiful support of female backing singers that brings you tears in your eyes whenever heard.

Last but not least, the double-tracked guitar solo in “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” is a great inspiration for me and this specific technique will likely show up in an upcoming track of mine.

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