ARTIST: Todd Rundgren
TITLE: Something / Anything
YEAR RELEASED: 1972
CHART ACTION: #29
SINGLES: I Saw the Light (#16 US, #36 UK), Could I Just Tell You (#93 US), Hello, It’s Me (#5 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference, Wolfman Jack, Slut
LINEUP: Todd Rundgren solo on sides 1-3, Rundgren with help from people like Rick Derringer, Randy Brecker, Mike Brecker, Vicki Robinson, Amos Garrett, Billy Mundi, Ben Keith, Toby Sales, Hunt Sales and more on side 4.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Long, sprawling double album that shows off Rundgren’s prowess as a musician, songwriter and producers.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This record is probably the best showcase for all sides of Todd Rundgren. For most of the album, he played, sang and produced everything all by himself. He learned the drums and bass just for this record and recorded some experiments at home on a VCS3 synth.
His sense of melody and his knack for hits is evident in “I Saw the Light”, but throughout the rest of the album, the songs are rich and dense, and the hooks and melodies sneak up on you as there’s layer after layer to unpack.
Side four was kind of a loose jam after he relocated from LA to NY thanks to an earthquake. He had too many tracks for a single record, so most all of side four he just set up shop, had people come in, and they learned the song and recorded it quickly. In contrast to the tightly wound and produced first ¾ of it, side four is like a refresher. It also contained “Hello, It’s Me”, the big hit and a remake of an old Nazz song.
The only notes I have is that it’s a long slog, and some of the songs on Side 2 and 3 tend to go on a bit long and get caught in overproduction. Still, listening to this gives you great appreciation of Rundgren, and of course the fact that almost all of the tunes are top notch helps.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The song “Wolfman Jack” was released two years later as a single in a version with the Wolfman himself.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A: A great exercise in songwriting and production, and a primer on how to use a studio for the best possible effect.