4 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 1974, after making several seminal albums as a solo multi-instrumentalist, erstwhile Nazz leader Todd Rundgren chose to give group life another go by forming Utopia. Their debut album is a dazzling display of prog rock perfection, dominated by three epic-length suites (plus the comparatively concise "Freedom Fighters"). Marked by long, complex instrumental passages, the record finds Rundgren's guitar sharing the foreground with the band's three keyboardists, creating a richly textured soundscape in the process. The breathtaking closing track, "The Ikon," contains so many different musical twists and turns it could practically be an album in itself.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 1974, after making several seminal albums as a solo multi-instrumentalist, erstwhile Nazz leader Todd Rundgren chose to give group life another go by forming Utopia. Their debut album is a dazzling display of prog rock perfection, dominated by three epic-length suites (plus the comparatively concise "Freedom Fighters"). Marked by long, complex instrumental passages, the record finds Rundgren's guitar sharing the foreground with the band's three keyboardists, creating a richly textured soundscape in the process. The breathtaking closing track, "The Ikon," contains so many different musical twists and turns it could practically be an album in itself.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

The Maniac ,

A Different Kind Of Todd

I was introduced to Todd Rundgren and Utopia by a collage roommate in the mid-seventies. A lover of good pop tunes, I embraced Todd whole-heartedly. Then I listened to Todd Rundgren's Utopia, an album so different from his other pop-rock confections I hardly believed this was the same artist. This was (mostly) Fusion of the finest kind, as good or better as anything Weather Report or other true Fusion artists were producing. Not only clever and tight, it's intelligent. The half-hour long The Ikon not only fails to bore, it delightfully intertwines its themes, leaving you where you began and wanting more. And
best of all, the album has worn well, quite as enjoyable today as it was 30 years ago.

Seasoned Listner ,

Utopia: Take 1

I loved this album for all the right reasons. Put the "Todd is God" aside and you have the ultimate rock fusion orchestra. The only thing close was John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, or maybe the mania of Robert Fripp, and let's not forget that Adrien Belew had not yet joined forces with Fripp in King Crimson yet. So it was new, unique and outstanding at the time. But I would say this album raised more eyebrows by TR fans and critics alike. As cool and groundbreaking as it was, there was absolutely no market for it yet. To their credit, Utopia was widely listened to by other musicians. Later Utopia incarnations were much more "pop" driven, but they were still left of center enough for the band to expertly and tastefully push the envelope but never capture a sustainable audience. It was too bad, that they were too good, too far ahead and poorly promoted. Do yourself a favor, dive in to this one. Utopia urshered in a new type of rock band with a new and unique sound, jam-packed full of tasteful licks, and extremely musically tight performances. They also ignited a revolution of change in instrumental and later video technology.

Jo-Dog ,

Monumental

Todd broke from his radio-centric work and went into prog with great abandon. This was one of the great albums of my youth and it retains its energy and spark. I recommend it highly for those who appreciate progressive rock, and for those ready to hear Todd branch out!

More By Utopia

You May Also Like