Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren vs. Utopia

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As the title says, the 2002 British import two-disc set Todd Rundgren vs. Utopia contains tracks from both Todd Rundgren's schizo solo career and his prog/pop outfit, Utopia. Due to the exclusion of post-1982 tracks, the set can't be considered definitive (it focuses on the early '70s through the early '80s -- considered by most to be Rundgren's finest years), but it does contain a fine mixture of hits, fan favorites, and oft-overlooked album cuts. The 15-track "solo" first disc contains renowned Rundgren classics ("Hello It's Me," "I Saw the Light," "Bang the Drum All Day") and subsequent concert standards ("Couldn't I Just Tell You," "Just One Victory"), as well as several interesting choices ("All the Children Sing," "Heavy Metal Kids"). The 13-track Utopia second disc is not as thorough or smart with its track listing, however. While it traces the group's development from prog rockers ("Seven Rays," "Utopia Theme") to a fine and woefully underrated new wave/power pop outfit ("Set Me Free," "Very Last Time," "One World," "Trapped"), far too many deserving tracks are missing (no selections from Deface the Music or Utopia, nor such fine tracks as "You Make Me Crazy," "Back on the Street," etc.). Despite its few shortcomings, Todd Rundgren vs. Utopia contains the majority of classics you'd expect on a Rundgren compilation.

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