hello folks! our record today is A Wizard, A True Star, released in 1972 as Todd Rundgren’s third solo record. im familiar with some of Rundgren’s pop hits, but this’ll be my first time listening to a full record, which feels appropriate because in researching this record, i found out that he wanted folks to listen to it all the way through so much he didnt release any of the tracks as singles. that’s dedication to keeping the songs in context, not gonna lie.

International Feel has a surprisingly solid continuity with the end of the record, given the opening lines “here we are again / the start of the end”. i enjoyed this song quite a bit, with the lyrically escalating chorus. Never Never Land is much closer to a ballad – the lush piano here’s nice, but some of the shimmering synths end up clashing in the mix. do gotta again hand it to the record’s flow with the shift into Tic Tic Tic, It Wears Off. i really like Tic Tic Tic – lotta fun energy on this song. You Need Your Head definitely threw me for a loop the first listen. this one’s going for disruption and nailing it. Rock & Roll Pussy plays it more straight musically – something very funny in using the word pussy instead of coward for this song, and ending it the way they do. Dogfight Giggle does some more strange stuff with vfx samples. odd track. You Don’t Have to Camp Around is a soft and friendly song about a homophobic parent confronting their kid. Flamingo’s a heavily electronic instrumental track. a fun little musical journey. Zen Archer suggests a villain, the zen archer himself, bringing death in his wake. balances some more whimsical moments that lay out the scene with some underlying sinster vibes. for such a dramatic and serious song, the “thwung” of an arrow hitting a target at the end makes me laugh every time, which does fit with the tone for Just Another Onionhead / Da Da Dali. the first half of the song is fun, but the Da Da Dali segment i am considerably less a fan of. i like how When Shit Hits the Fan / Sunset Blvd is set up – the second half of the track gets named dropped as an escape during the first half, and then they musically ride off into the sunset. extremely funny bit to have the reprise of the intro track be Le Feel Internacionale, and to open the second side of the record. love that. Sometimes I Don’t Know What To Feel is a track about overwhelming anxiety. deeply pleasant music to describe a bad state of mind. Does Anybody Love You? posits that you can have so much but if you dont have love you dont have much at all. the medley here in that occupies the bulk of this side of the record is a mix of several covers – I’m So Proud, by Curtis Mayfield, Ooh Baby Baby from The Miracles, La La Means I Love You from the Delfonics, and Cool Jerk originally performed by the Capitols, for some fun flavor to close it out. very interesting mix of sounds for sure. neat to flow them together, but as a package im less a fan of the whole ten minute track. Hungry For Love has a bit of a rocky start for me but it gets places. I Don’t Want to Tie You Down has some nice stuff lyrically, but musically i could take or leave it. Is It My Name? goes for a rockier vibe to discuss a relationship that is equally likely to be a personal one as it is the one with his fans. Just One Victory is a plea for some hope. really dig this as a closer, not gonna lie.

faves – Just One Victory
dislikes –

this was an odd one for sure – for starters, this record weaves an incredibly diverse number of sounds into a record that flows together fairly well. some of the more avant-garde tracks here were playing in music spaces im not a huge fan of, but i definitely did enjoy hearing how the record set up and delivered on many of the transitions here. lyrically, i definitely found stuff i liked as well, but a lot of it just kind of flowed by. given the splashes of humor i wasnt surprised to see Zappa listed as an inspiration for this record, haha.

i honestly feel pretty mixed about this one – ive read a lot about its historical context, and it is a very pleasant record to listen to, but it doesnt have a huge impact on me. ive talked before about coming back to records after i percolate on them a little bit, and i think this is one i’ll want to put a pin in for the future.

A Wizard, A True Star – 6/10

for the next Weekly Album Review, i’ll be listening to Aja, by Steely Dan. i’ll be back on Friday, March 1st, [[EDIT: due to some scheduling issues, it will actually be March 8th]] with that review and to pick another weekly record, and in the meantime, let me know what album you’d like me to review! (i pool all suggestions in one place, and draw a person, then one pick from that person, so feel free to drop as many as you’d like! if you leave an email or username i’ll contact you when i’ve gotten through all your suggestions.)