Hermit of Mink Hollow
Todd Rundgren’s heart broke in 1977. After five years together he split with his girlfriend (and mother of his surrogate daughter Liv Tyler) Bebe Buell, and like so many musicians before him he channeled his pain and sadness into the making of an LP. Hermit of Mink Hollow examines every stage of the emotional fallout. There is spite (“You Cried Wolf”), self-loathing (“Lucky Guy”), despair (“Bread”), faithfulness (“Determination”), insanity (“Out of Control”) and reconciliation (“Can We Still Be Friends?”). The hilarious “Onomatopoeia” even adopts a childlike perspective of infatuation, as if to show the babyish behavior a bad breakup can incite in an adult male. Because Rundgren was dealing with such personal source material, he put aside the prog workouts of Utopia and momentarily returned to the piano pop music of his early career. Even though he had for years disavowed this kind of music, no one is more of an expert in the field than Rundgren. The musical format gives focus to the album’s emotional upheaval, and helps to make Hermit of Mink Hollow one of the most affecting yet listenable breakup albums ever made.