Todd Rundgren

Cliche

Song Review by

Although he has dabbled in countless styles of pop over the years, Todd Rundgren has retained a skill for writing gorgeous, heartfelt ballads throughout all phases of his career. One of the best and most beloved of these ballads is "Cliche," a lovely highlight from Faithful. The lyrics deal with the way people rely on cliched approaches to love as they try to connect with each other: "Who makes up all the rules for all the world/Haven’t we been down this road before/Isn’t anything peculiar here/Certainly there must be something more?" In the end, the only solution to "making the knot unwind" is presented on the final line: "Throw away that old cliche." The music takes on a delicate style to bring this tale to life, matching verses that flutter down from ethereal heights before they give way to yearning chorus built on ornate, folk-ish runs of notes. Rundgren’s recording of "Cliche" wraps the song in a gentle arrangement that builds itself on acoustic guitar and harpsichord and also weaves in some jangly, Byrds-style electric guitar riffs to underline the chorus. Rundgren adds a vocal that alternates between an airy falsetto and a soulful baritone as he conveys the lyric in a sincere, heartfelt style. This gentle style has made "Cliche" a favorite at Rundgren’s concerts and is considered by many fans to be one of his finest ballads.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Faithful 1976 Rhino 4:00
Anthology (1968-1985) 1989 Rhino 4:00
Free Soul Runt 1998 Bearsville Records 3:59
Go Ahead Ignore Me: The Best of Todd Rundgren 2000 Castle Music Ltd. 4:02
The Definitive Rock Collection 2006 Bearsville Records 4:03
For Lack of Honest Work 2010 Micro Werks / Get Back Live 4:39
Initiation + Faithful 2011 Edsel 4:02
Global 2015 Esoteric Antenna / MVD Audio 0:00
The Complete Bearsville Albums Collection 2016 Rhino