Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's Alive! -- Another half-assed music review.

(For those reading for the actual review, it comes in on the 10th paragraph.)

Once upon a time, I watched music videos all day long on a UHF station called U68. They played a lot of music that mainstream radio didn't, and so I became a snobby elitist for my 11th birthday, with the opinion that ? (Modern Industry) by Fishbone was the greatest song ever.

Todd Rundgren - A CapellaI would go into Sam Goody all the time, asking for albums by Nik Kershaw, and What Is This? and another singer called Todd Rundgren who had released an album of songs that were made up of only voice and percussion called, fittingly, A Cappella. I fell in love with the song Something To Fall Back On, and I had to have it.

"Who's Todd Rundgren?" asked the man who Sam Goody was paying to help people find music.

Being a snobby elitist, however, I could not tell him, I merely scoffed and went to the Rs in search of the cassette myself. Little did I realize, but the entire tri-state area heard Todd Rundgren every Friday around 5 o'clock, when Bang The Drum All Day would be played as part of Z-100's weekend kick-off. I was an idiot, really. I did catch up on all of Rundgren's hits, though, because I like his music.

Fast-forward 21 years, and Todd Rundgren is the lead singer of The New Cars, which is, in my opinion, a brilliant move. In the case of Paul Rodgers trying to be Freddie Mercury, I nearly threw myself off my swing in an attempt to block the sound coming into my ears, but this New Cars thing, it might even be better than the old Cars.

I like The Cars. Drive is such a part of my existence that it would be creepy to go into it here, so I will leave it at I like The Cars.

Mainstream radio's been playing The New Cars song, Not Tonight, and the first time I heard it, I nearly went mad with glee, because it worked.

So I waited until the album came out, and it was a live album. That messed me up for a second, because I generally despise live albums. But It's Alive is a pretty good exception. There was really no other way Todd Rundgren was going to be allowed to remake all of the Ric Ocasek songs without a big CGI bee coming after him, so if a live album was all we were going to get in addition to the three new studio tracks, then I'd take it.

Todd Rundgren is a better Ric Ocasek than Ric Ocasek. The only track on the album that didn't top the original was, oddly enough, the Todd Rundgren song I Saw The Light. Kasim Sulton enunciates "shake" well enough on Drive, too, but that will always be Ben Orr's song to me.

If you like The Cars, go get the album, and enjoy almost-exact (and quite possibly better) replicas of the originals by the man who raised Liv Tyler.

I really have never gotten over that guy in Sam Goody. I wonder if he ever found out who Todd Rundgren is. I wonder if he wonders if I remember that he didn't know? I wonder if he hates all snarky 12-year-old girls now, because of me and my search for Todd Rundgren.

(Sam Goody, mind you, did not carry any Todd Rundgren albums in 1986. I had to go upstairs, to the other music store whose name escapes me at the moment. Musicland, I think. Musicland charged a ridiculous amount of money for tapes.)

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