Todd Rundgren: Global

Todd eases up on the raving, but still wants to dad dance…

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While there seem to be random Rundgren reissues every month, a new album remains cause for excitement.

This time, the expectancy is laced with trepidation, as 2013’s State was a creature only a mother could love. It’s a given, and a joy, that Todd will change personae frequently, and his many musical modes over the years have opened our eyes to a starburst of genres. That monstrosity, however, saw him discovering techno, decades after even 2 Unlimited had given up on it; it wasn’t pretty. Global, his 25th studio release under his own name since Runt revved up in 1970, is a tad less punishing on the ears. A mixture of styles, it still has its fair share of numbers which evoke Pete Waterman trying to be down with the kids (of the mid-90s), with Evrybody and Global Nation as desperately wannabe-hip as Madonna. As respite, however, we get the mid-tempo synth-pop of Rise, and a sweet bluesy ballad in Blind. When he’s not berating “too much testosterone” on Earth Mother, Todd reconnects with the arcing melodies and warm vocals that marked his youth, on Soothe. Global isn’t great, but at least he’s remembered there’s more to life than Hi-NRG.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.