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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

A Wizard/A True Star

Todd Rundgren

1973

Wikipedia

A Wizard/A True Star

Rating

2.83

Votes

3231

Reviews

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5

My stepdad is a Todd Rundgren fan so I heard this one early on. Also a favorite among college friends. I love these kinds of kitchen sink affairs where artists have the freedom/time to really explore possibilities in the studio. I wish more albums flowed like this one. Makes for quite a ride. Love that the ambition is tempered with humor along the way. Definitely his best album. A tour de force.

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4

Why haven’t I heard of this guy before?

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5

👍🏼 definitely need to listen to more of this guy. he has clear talent and imagination and all of the songs are incredibly varied and cool. the whole album is cohesive without merging too much but still if you listened to the first half of the album not in completion it wouldn’t really work. awesome album cover and i like the song names. come on a 4/named song ?! 👍🏼

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4

Really weird album, but really enjoyed it. All over the place, but still coherent enough to be a really fun experience. Favorite tracks: “Zen Archer,” “Onionhead/Da Da Dali,” and “Medley:....”

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2

This is mental. It's interesting and I'm sure ground breaking at the time. Glad I listened, wouldn't listen again

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1

I wanted to like this but do not.

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5

Incredible album. The flow of the record is immaculate

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5

Sounds like an album that was written in some dude's bedroom while he was on psychedelics. There are plenty of "Mr. Kite's Glass Walrus" moments (and a John Lennon diss track, apparently), but it also manages the trick of staying down to earth without being particularly dense or impenetrable. Rundgren didn't release any singles because he wanted people to listen to the whole album straight through, which is typically an eyeroll worthy statement, but in this case, I think it's a cohesive enough unit that a straight listen is probably the best route to take. This thing got better as it went. A great listening experience. Best track: Just One Victory

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5

So happy this came up. Spend. More. Time. With. Todd.

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5

Discazo de canciones. Del space rock al progresivo, del heavy al pop sofisticado. Muy grande, inabarcable. La esquisitez del rock setentero impecablemente presentado. Genial.

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5

Really excellent. I loved this album

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5

Incredible album! Cohesive, interesting, and boundary pushing. I can imagine how formative this must have been for experimental musicians. I'm very glad this has been put on my radar.

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5

i so love it

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5

This came out in 1972?! WAAAY ahead of it's time musically. Switching between playful and riffing rock songs effortlesly. I was expecting some boring prog album based on the album cover, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This album was an amazing experience

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5

My favorite Todd album.

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5

When I first listened to this about 10 years ago I wanted to like it more, but found it too schizophrenic and irritating. On relistening Rundgren's genius really shines through. I love the fact that it doesn't sit still and changes direction so many times, but still manages to work in some decent tunes.

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5

I just love when someone is having fun

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5

Quelle aventure cet album. On oublie rapidement que c’est sorti en 1973. Un petit bijou psychédélique/pop/rock/soul. Je ne serais pas surpris de retrouver cet album dans la bibliothèque de Kevin Parker de Tame Impala ou des membres d’Animal Collective. Un gros coup de cœur pour moi. Pièce préférée: Le Feel Internacionale, When the shit hits the fan, Just Another Onionhead, International Feel, … ;)

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5

Wonderful! This is one of my favourite albums ever. The book states that at first listen it could be tiring, but the first time I played it I was amazed: I thought it sounded as if it were made in 1993, not 1973; it really sounds far ahead of its time. The sprawling nature of the record reminds me also of the White Album, another of my favourite ever. I can hear Frank Zappa influences, Beatles, Beach Boys, some prog, gypsy music, and so much more. One of those records where you discover something new at every spin. I don't know if he was a true star, but for sure he is a true genius.

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5

Even if side 2 was blank I still would love this album. A true star completely.

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4

A brilliantly inventive album, and his use of synths as an instrument (as opposed to a shortcut to the sound made by an instrument) was ahead of its time. However, you'd be pressed to say that the songs themselves are his best work.

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4

On first listen a brilliant but exhausting single LP (emphasized because of a 55+ minute runtime).

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4

Interesting. Haven't listened carefully tho.

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4

Väldigt bra , i like it!

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4

It is chaotic but a very interesting journey. Definitely an album that needs to be played straight through.

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4

Fun and interesting! Kind of reminds me of some of the Beatles' later songs.

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4

A name I've never heard before. Surprised to hear synths. Shit for 1973 this is quite modern with it's synth-explorations. Via Wikipedia: "The sound and structure of Wizard was heavily informed by Rundgren's hallucinogenic experiences. It was envisioned as a hallucinogenic-inspired 'flight plan' with all the tracks segueing seamlessly into each other, starting with a 'chaotic' mood and ending with a medley of his favorite soul song". Fascinating. Ok I just looked at the track list and I'm 4 songs in and thought I was still on track 1. Wow. "You Need Your Head" is crazy! I have a feeling I need to listen to this all again. Dogfight Giggle woooow lol. This is like some RCE mandatory overtime shit. This is a perfect follow-up to that Zappa album, there is much more "heart" in here for me, but I'm sure vocals help here. 3.5 to 4.

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4

🧐

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4

Wow, kind of stunned by this. How have I never heard of this guy? Hearing Lemon Twigs in this, and Jack White. If this came out now it would still sound edgy. Getting really yacht rock with the Medley. Second half of the album sounds more dated but I still like it overall.

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4

Rundgren is another artist I really need to dig into for a longer time. Whenever I listen to his music, I really like it, and then I forget for another year or so. One of my favorite new-ish bands, the Lemon Twigs, cite him as a major influence. I definitely hear that influence on this record. I'll be sure to revisit this one a few more times this next couple weeks as I can tell it's one that keeps on giving new gems over multiple listens.

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4

I really like the eclectic style of this music.

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4

The sound is way ahead it’s time for 1972. Utterly bonkers in places but strangely enjoyable psychedelic.

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4

Really good

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4

Quite classic psychdelic rock from that era, I liked it.

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4

Psychedelic rock. I enjoyed the flow from one song to the other. A couple songs I really enjoyed.

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4

WTF this is some crazy experimental stuff from the 70s. The album is made up of quick snippets of unfinished songs and one ten minute journey of a track. Sounds like he was on a ton of psychs when he was recording, makes sense.

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4

I have his album "Todd" from the next year, but don't remember much about it. I know he has a reputation for being uncompromisingly non-commercial in his approach to pop & rock. Sounds good on paper, but doesn't necessarily lead to good albums... Well, this one is surprisingly enjoyable. I like the aesthetic of short, almost-incomplete songs, which allows a restless switching around of styles. There's a sense of humour throughout, and some earnest emotional content. It's a fun album. 4*

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4

Bananas. But in a good way

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4

Apparently reviews from the time found the first half too weird for its own good, which is sad, because I feel like the album might be even better if the second half was weirder.

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4

Nice discovery. This album feels like being on acids, but in a good way (which I think was Todd's goal).

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4

A rich collection of quirky pop songs with a satisfying flow, nice drum sounds too.

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4

Really strange but fun and I treating album

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4

Psychedelic and weird. Very happy for the refresher on Rundgren. This will work it’s way into my normal listening.

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4

A tour-de-force kaleidoscope of psych folk pop gems

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4

had never heard of this album, but was pleasantly surprised by the utterly batshit songs. i also note he's released literally dozens of albums since.... I wonder if they're also as mad as this one?

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4

4 stars a very fun listen lots of stylistic changes. Deserves more attention

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4

I digged this. It was chaotic and all over the place yet I liked every moment? Yep.

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4

Loved this record! Going to listen to it again soon

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4

Experimental, unusual, slightly psychedelic, funky. In all a great experience.

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4

Wow! I've never heard of Todd Rundgren before, which is a real shame. What a trip this album has been. It's random and experimental, and then whenever I go 'Well this is a bit too experimental for me' it goes into a more classic rock song. I dig it!

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4

Another very hard to rate album, some of the songs were hard to listen to, others such as Le Feel Internationale were absolute highlights. This is very much on the 3/4 boundary, but the sheer interestingness of the sound has pushed me to the higher edge of that.

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4

Cool Album, variety of different sounds and beats

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4

Diferente e interesante

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4

Wizard Cowboy Space Travel.

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4

LSD does wonders.

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4

Experimental elements mixed with conventional aspects, intriguing listening

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4

I remembered being less warm on Rundgren, but looking back it seems I was about as warm to Something/Anything? If anything, it took me a while to warm to that album; This one, while sprawling, has my favorite bits in the first half. I love the gonzo nature of it, and while it tries a tiny bit too hard it's also plain fun.

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4

Dope. Very prog. Groovy baby, Yeah!

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4

This was very impressive and unexpected. I don't remember if I've already listened to something from Todd Rundgren, but this release sounds really great and that is the type of thing that made this 1001 list worth it. A lot of experiments that sound much more modern than some 2000's bands, but still very enjoyable without exaggerated virtuosic. I liked it very much!! It's not 5 stars, just because there is one only song that is kind of exaggerated, but it's almost an essential album.

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4

Not bad

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4

I always respect anyone who uses the accordion outside of Polka

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4

This was good overall. Some ups and downs. I was a big fan of "When the Shit Hits the Fan" and "Hungry for Love"

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4

Some of the experimental songs are too experimental and some of the earnest songs are too earnest but on the whole an engaging listen

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4

The Wikipedia for this album said it was the result of Todd’s experimentation with lsd and I think that really comes through in the music. The production gets insane sometimes and super overwhelming but most of it was actually really good and well put together as you would expect from an artist on lsd in the 70s

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4

Interesting. Probably requires several listenings to appreciate

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4

On record for one of the longest single-disc LP's at nearly an hour long, Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, a True Star is a sprawling piece of art pop that takes you on a musical journey like no other. Songs feel more like vignettes for a larger piece of work as we chug along from one scene to the next, occasionally sticking around a little longer to ground the listener. The album cover accurately captures the kind of experience that this album is. It is certainly strange and sort of loses the plot halfway through side A only pick things up again near the end of side A. Side B slows things down with ballads and a particularly smooth medley. Rundgren's experimentation with psychedelic drugs is on full display with how this record flows, it's an excellent listen throughout. It helps that Rundgren was already an established producer/engineer by this point, so he really brings his own vision to life here. Definitely worth the price of admission.

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3

Full-on space wizard stuff. Schizophrenic at times. A fun listen, but it does drag on a bit near the end. The medleys are super nice, and I appreciate that it gets noisy occasionally. Favorite tracks: "Zen Archer", "You Need Your Head", "Medley: I'm So Proud"

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3

I don’t recall a Wizard. Interesting take on borderline genre bending but nothing blew me away

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3

3.5-4

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3

false

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3

Definitely sounded like a trip, and reading up on the background, he was spot on with his work.

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3

Zappa plus ELO. Cool!

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3

Felt like he was trying to be like frank zappa. Trying a little too hard to be weird. Musically ok but nothing life changing. Will try again another day

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3

Fav Song: Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel

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3

No nyt on progea. Välillä (aika usein) homma lähtee vähän (ihan täysin) lapasesta, mutta pidin varsinkin levyn rauhallisemmista osuuksista (osuuksista missä oli musiikkia).

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3

odd and interesting

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3

interessante mas meio confuso

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3

What the funk?

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3

This album blended songs together so seamlessly it was hard to tell where one track finished, and another began.

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3

interesting

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3

Coolness. But a measured taste.

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3

wasn't great and wasn't bad.

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3

I'm still not 100% on how I feel about this one, but it was by no stretch bad

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3

Una bogeria de disc d'un dels grans fundadors del rock progress. Fresc, lliure i imprevisible. Les cançons es van encadenant les unes amb les altres, barrejant versions amb originals. El conjunt és complex i té uns quants altibaixos, però les intencions i la llibertat de la proposta acaben decantant favorablement la balança.

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3

Good, not great - but useful to have heard

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3

70s, David Bowie vibes. Nostalgic. Syntetizers

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3

A ratos más guitarrero, en otras más templado. Buena voz. Buenos acompañamientos

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3

Pretty weird stuff. Almost good.

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3

The name screams "prog-rock"... let's find out.... Haha it was confirmed after the first note. Rock n Roll pussy. A colourful clusterfuck.

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3

At time of writing this review I had only listened to the full album of 19 tracks once. I can tell though, it’ll need more than one listen to appreciate the sounds and music in each one. There is enjoyment to be had but it will take time to put all the pieces together. I read that Todd Rundgren intended for this album to be listened to in its entirety from start to finish. I can appreciate this as each track does build on the previous. I’ve also concluded that this is a story of two parts...the first is one of, at times, crazy good times while the second settles into a more reflective life of funk, pop and soulful vocals while including beautiful lyrics such as.. “I don’t want a thing to mar this ever, the picture that we make; the balance of our minds together, the perfect give and take.” This half is also where I found the most enjoyment. I’ll definitely come back to this album and give it the attention it deserves. 3 Stars!

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3

As Stu said, definitely not boring. Felt very experimental, I liked some parts, did not like others (the entire onionhead song, for example).

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3

Cooles album

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3

reallly weird. i’ve heard some of his mother music is good. but don’t love this album!

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3

7/10 very experimental and dreamy

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3

Weird. Definitely has been mined for some great hip hop samples though. Don't listen on youtube with ads.

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3

Experimentellt, rockigt, roligt och tokigt! A-sidan består mest av korta låtar på 1-2 minuter som flyter ihop i varandra, med undantag för albumets bästa låtföljd Flamingo -> Zen Archer. Flamingo är för övrigt samplad i Frank Oceans låt Solo. Mängden låtar gör att vissa blir lättare att glömma bort, men en efterhängande känsla av lekfullt kaos finns ändå. B-sidan innehåller bland annat ett 10 minuters medley där Rundgren sjunger fyra av sina favoritsoullåtar, vilket är KUL, ju. Annars är B-sidans bästa spår Sometimes I Don't Know What to Feel, Does Anybody Love You?, samt avslutningsspåret Just One Victory. Ibland lite spretigt sound, men annars ett bra psykadeliadoftande album! Albumomslaget är för övrigt 5/5. Bästa låt: Zen Archer.

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3

Not my personal fave album but it's TR 🤷🏻‍♀️

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3

A bit wacky but listenable. Sadly not a patch on “I Saw the Light in your Eyes” otherwise it would have scored higher

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3

Fux

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3

Strange psycho rock

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3

Tell me you have ADHD without telling me you have ADHD. Todd: This album.

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3

There's a category in my mind for this kind of album. An album you have to be a musician to appreciate and I'm no musician.

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3

Some songs are ok.

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3

I've never taken recreational drugs, but based on this album it sounds like it would be fun. It's the sound of a man having a lovely time making weird music, seemingly doing whatever he felt like from one moment to the next. The result is enjoyable chaos. 3.5/5.

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3

Very seventies sounding. Not bad, but it didn't particularly grab me either.

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3

Never fully got into this record, but it is a solid 70s rock album.

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3

Was quite surprised by this one. It was experimental and weird but in a way that was interesting enough to keep it going. Wouldn't return to the album though.

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3

Rundgren packs a lot into his songs. A lot of the tracks are little over one minute. At one point they would have felt like unfinished demos, but a one minute track fits right in with the modern world of streaming. As does Rundgren never sticking with one genre - sometimes even in one track. He's just having fun and creating an action-packed album in the process.

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3

Nuts and good and annoying in places

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3

Interesting, compelling and surprisingly listenable - enjoyed this one and it merits more listens - nice discovery

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3

This looks like it could be weird. 70s prog? Ok yeah early prog rock, not too bad but also not fantastic. Was a shame I listened to it at 6:30am, before the mushies kicked in. 3/5.

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3

Drugs

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3

Es brutalmente dispar, recuerdo algunas canciones tras escucharlo una vez, pero sobre todo el medley, es increible Una fumada endefinitiva

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3

Ayoye!! Jamais entendu parler du dude mais c'était pas plate ça! Je sprint pas chercher le vinyle mais j'ai eu du fun, pas reposant par bout mais la prod est touffue, il se passe des affaires, un peu zappa, un peu beach boys, ça m'a gardé intéressé jusqu'à la fin. Pas certain que je vais le réécouter souvent mais c'est le genre de découverte/expérience que j'espérais avec cette liste

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3

Yeah, a bit hippy dippy for my taste. Not bad though.

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3

I don't know where to begin. This album is crazy.

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3

Pop psicodélico.

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3

Achei chatinho

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3

Very trippy, though the short tracks take some getting used to, each one is pretty distinct, leading to a cool "tapas" kinda experience rather than a full meal.

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3

Kind of style exercise

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3

This was so weird but I kinda liked it

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3

Now I know where Foxygen got some of their ideas

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3

Mostly forgettable, some good, some bad, mostly mediocre.

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3

This was a musical rollercoaster...but I think I liked it!! A bit weird and out-there, a bit 60s ballads, a bit 70s rock. It was chaotic, but definitely organized chaos and the album actually has really good flow.

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3

A chaotic mess, but occasionally brilliant

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2

Overblown. Not much to listen to

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2

S'ok-ish. Not something I would be like aww shit put on some Todd Rundgren. But I wouldnt turn it off if it was on shuffle

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2

Boas ideias mas confuso dms pra mim

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2

Probably needs a lot of listens and drugs.

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2

Es como si magical mystery tour y a night at the opera tuvieran un hijo deforme.

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2

Not a fan, too "artsy"

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2

Interesting, but probably wouldn't listen again

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2

Aika taiteellista ja sekavaa menoa.:) Levyllä on hetkensä, mutta kokonaisuudesta en saa millään kiinni, että mitä tässä oikein tapahtuu. You Need Your Head ja Zen Archer saivat huomion kiinnittymään itseensä molemmilla kuuntelukerroilla. (P.S. Googlauksen perusteella tää oli joku happopäissään tehty levy, ei olis arvannut...)

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2

Hard hard work.

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2

Just a big musical album lol

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2

A bit weird and rambley, mish mash of genres and nothing really stood out

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2

i now dread anything that this list throws up from the 70s. its always a combination of intense and drama school crap. fantastic production - the mixing is great, but the music is just annoying.

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2

Well, I put off listening to it, so that says a lot. I think what's annoying is there are snippets of great songs / melodies, but he's being wilfully obtuse and messing them up.

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2

An entertaining listen. Not sure I’ll revisit too often though.

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2

Schmaler grat zwischen gefälligem Pop und ausgefallen schwierigem

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2

Interesting trip man. 🍓

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2

Doctor Who enters our solar system and clones Carole King and together they bring a home 8 track recorder to Todd Rundgren's house, feed him LSD, and tell him to record an album with no commercial prospects yet must have a steady diet of major 7th chords, catchy melodies, and soaring harmonies. At least 9 of the songs must be under 2 minutes long, but cannot rely on "traditional" rock instrumentation or progressions. Todd responds with A Wizard, A True Star. I'm familiar with Rundgren's "hits" and much of the album "Something/Anything" but had never heard this one. This album is definitely out there but not caustically-weird, just.... more like a weird/interesting aural scrapbook. If you can call it a "flaw" it is apparently preferential and intentional - I know the album was constructed without respect to creating singles (specifically created without regard to complete songs - quote by TR himself - with *notable exception* of the last tune "Just One Victory" which definitely could have been) but that's also making it difficult to sink into so will require multiple listens. These types of albums are really hard to rate if you've (I've) never heard them before so it's likely unfair but I give this a 2; there's a lot of interesting work in here but it's too scattered for me.

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2

It’s creative but a bit too out there to be something I’d regularly listen to.

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2

Nope, long and didn’t find much.

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2

This thing is all over the place.

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2

I believe Todd tries his best with creating something unique, but A Wizard is not a big success for me. Music is not defined, or perfected, by filling a near hour long record with weird spacey sound effects, confusing distortions and screamy vocals. Dogfight Giggle is 1:05 minute of a duck quacking and people laughing like morons, which I admit made me giggle like a complete moron as well. The jazzy melodies on "Zen Archer", and the ascending vocals on Sometimes I Don't Know are the highlights on here, because they complete enjoyable songs. To conclude, I wish more on here actually resembled music, but for comedic value this album will be worth your time. 2/5.

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2

Ehhh, was not a fan of this. Not a big Rundgren fan.

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2

Não funcionou como doses de psicodelia

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2

Daft most of the time with a few good tunes.

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2

Very meh. Why is it that people who think they've had some kind of psychedelic break through all end up playing the same music.... Doesn't seem very original.

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2

Bit glossy and overproduced. Something about it just annoyed me.

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2

Rundgren is so prolific and productive that you've got to kiss a lot of frogs to get to the gems. And my word, does he splash a lot of paint all over the place here. Rundgren does a Medley containing four of the greatest classic soul songs of all time and goes out of his way to make them all sound like shit. Apparently the joke is that no white man should ever cover these songs. Music history is littered with artists following up a masterpiece by veering completely off the road in a way to prove something. And Rundgren gives off the impression here that he's almost embarrassed for making the pop classics "Hello It's Me" and "I Saw The Light" from his previous album. There's a reason Todd Rundgren was so sought after throughout his career as a producer. His induction in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame is long overdue. I just wish he'd not feel guilty about having musical chops and an ear for good pop songs.

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2

weird, not for me

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2

Not as bad as I feared, but almost... Here's hoping this is the last time Todd Rundgren shows up on this list. PS, a 10 minute song w/ 4 titles is 4 songs.

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2

I didn't hate it, but I didn't dig it

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2

Not too into this very prog-y but somehow boring psych album and got incensed looking at this busy album art. As one review notes, ""a minor songwriter with major woman problems who's good with the board and has a sense of humor" and that sums it up enough for me.

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2

Queen i et gøglermusem med mærkelige idéer og åndssvage numre

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2

What a journey this album was, I'm going to describe it as going on a waltzer whilst pissed out your skull.

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2

Started off prog rocky, turned a bit too experimental

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2

Au moins, c’est différent.

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2

Glad Big's dead.

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2

Not great for me

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2

I like lots of weird sh*t but this really didn't do it for me. It tried twice and nearly didn't make it through the album. Really disappointing, as I expected to enjoy it. 2.5/5 stars

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2

"International Star", among a few others, had a nice hook. But this is the kind of "f" it album that an artist puts out when they're pissed off at the record company.

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2

I can see how this was very influential, however none of the component parts are that much fun to listen to. I've had this album for years and didn't recognize any of it. More Sufjan Stevens than Badly Drawn Boy unfortunately

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2

I don't know what to expect from this except the year and ear-heavy cover suggest we might be very experimental, prog. And ... yeah. The album gallops along through notably crazy (and seemingly unending) territory. I suspect this may be genius but it is out of my reach. Fave track: Hungry for Love.

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2

Disorganised mess and the song about onions can get in the sea

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2

This album had some really cool things to it but then it would run over to the psychedelic sounds that I’m not crazy about. Liked some of the slower songs, this album was also too long.

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2

I don't think I had enough drugs in my system to enjoy this one. There was just a lot going on and in some songs and it was almost overwhelming. I'll stick to Band the Drum All Day as my fill for Todd Rundgren.

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2

Okay, not the worst 70s album on this list

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2

Drugs, hey?

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1

Ew

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1

Good christ. This is the worst list of albums ever

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1

I hated almost every second of this album. Its psychedelic rock at the worst and threw my anxiety into overdrive. The only time I didn’t want to gouge my ears out was during the medley of covers.

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1

wtf con dogfight gligle...

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1

I tried to have an open mind but this is just getting worse and worse every note I hear.

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1

Too much even for me.

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1

#1

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1

horrible

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1

Like a bad pastiche of Elton John

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1

Horrific

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1

Just bad. cluttered, no flow in the way the album is presented and half the songs sound like bad intros to a song we will never hear.

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1

I made it halfway then skimmed the rest. Found it irritating. Needed editing. Too many different ideas in there so it all sounded like a mess. Not for me.

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1

Not feelin this. Sorry Todd.

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1

Странное и непонятное

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1

Truly awful.

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1

Bonkers. One song was just dogs growling followed by laughter. Did not enjoy

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1

I really wanted to like this because the album title is excellent but unfortunately the songs contained on the album are the absolute antithesis of that.

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1

just weirrrrd man

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1

God knows. What they made of it in the 70’s I have even less idea.

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esta wea si q es buena ctm

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