“Nearly Human” – Todd Rundgren’s ‘80’s Masterpiece!
Be honest: how long before you noticed that Todd’s album cover included SIX fingers? Well, that “special” cover encases one of Todd Rundgren’s most brilliant works…just another reason Todd deserves to be in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame…
Todd is currently in third place after a steady rise in the poll, which you can vote for here:
As I said, lots of votes already have pushed Todd into third place, so let’s keep it going – and “rock the vote!” He deserves it for an incredible body of work throughout the years, including this great album:
Thanks to “disciplesofsound.blogspot.com” for the above picture – that’s where I found it…and I love this shot of Todd at work…and boy, what a masterpiece he was at work on! Time to dig into “Nearly Human”!
After four years away from recording his own music, Todd stormed back onto the scene with a masterpiece – check out iTunes, where you can buy it, and see all 24 of the 5-star reviews! And not just fans loved this –
here’s a review from “Allmusic.com”, written by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, who really nailed it! Here are two excerpts of his review:
“As the ’80s drew to a close, Todd Rundgren returned with “Nearly Human”, his first album of new material in four years, in the summer of 1989. During his hiatus as a recording artist, Rundgren became fascinated with recording live music, deciding to record “Nearly Human” live in the studio…”
The review sums the album up perfectly:
“‘Nearly Human’ finds Rundgren at the top of his game as a performer, producer, and songwriter, sustaining his momentum in a way he hadn’t for nearly a full decade.”
Michele’s Creative Role!
“Nearly Human” was the first collaboration between Rundgren and singer Michele Gray, who helped organize the sessions. Gray sang background vocals on the record and on tour, and of course Todd eventually married her!
Thanks to Dan Higgins for the incredible photo! Let’s look at the masterpiece that is “Nearly Human!”
“The Want Of A Nail” – talk about starting off with a classic! This is one of Todd’s great singles, with Bobby Womack joining in with an inspired vocal. Here is a live version from Todd:
Thanks to “HarryRunt danu” for posting this GREAT live performance from 1990 – a great vocal performance!
This song is also immortalized in the cult comedy “Camp” from 2003 – at the end of the film, the entire cast burst out into a terrific performance of the song…
Thanks to “Cheeky Wizard” for posting this on youtube…the movie is fun, so check it out as well!
“The Waiting Game” –
A catchy pop masterpiece…about a person admitting they lost the love of their life, but never giving up, until, by the end of the song, there is hope:
“I’ll play your waiting game
I’m gonna win the win the waiting game
I’ll play your waiting game
I’m gonna win this game my friend
And I’ll be with you in the end
I’ll play, yes I will”
“Parallel Lines” –
This is in my mind one of Todd’s most neglected gems, and it should have been a huge hit single…and look what I found: Todd appeared on the October 29, 1989 episode of the short-lived music television show “Night Music”. This is a gorgeous, softer version – with no backing singers and just a piano…
Thanks to “clayton139” for posting this on youtube!
Next is “Two Little Hitlers” – a cover version of an Elvis Costello song – Todd’s “Faithful” album had one side full of his covers of such classic songs as “Good Vibrations” and The Beatles’ “Rain”…
Side one ends with his brilliant song “Can’t Stop Running”, what seems to me as another message to his fans about what inspires him to keep going forward artistically…
“I cant stop running
I have a vision of myself
Breaking the finish line string
I still can hear it
This voice is calling
So I keep running…”
Here is a live version that is absolutely gorgeous…
Thanks to “jjgitties” for posting on youtube that live version from the 1990 “Nearly Human” tour…
Onto Side Two:
“Unloved Children” – a more political song from Todd, dealing with children who are raised in bad households…
“We let them find their own way
While everyone chooses
To ignore the abuses
We’ve all got excuses
We keep on, keep on cranking them out
And nobody has the time
To look at the great design
But they’re all from the same bloodline
Violent men, hard-headed women, unloved children”
Next up is “Fidelity”, one of Todd’s most beautiful ballads…
“True love does not demand Fidelity…”
Thanks to “rogsteel” for this 1997 live performance from Cleveland…
“Feel It” is next, a funky vibe that has a catchy R’n’B feel…
“Hawking” follows – and as you can see from the opening lyrics, Todd seems to be talking about his muse, where his inspiration comes from, and his spirituality as well…
“Whenever I, I close my eyes
Then I don’t mind being the way I am
But whenever I try explaining why
I know I never can
Now that it’s
Gone, paths I used to travel
Gone, things I used to handle
Gone, once I had a choice what to be
But then God kissed me
And I lost it when I fainted in his arms
Have pity on me brother, I’m trapped behind the mirror
I’m out here on the border”
It’s a beautiful, inspriing song, which leads to one of his greatest epics:
“I Love My Life”
This brilliant song closes the album on an amazing high note, as Todd leads a choir through a spiritual oration on life and love…like being in Todd’s church as he preaches the gospel!
“As you reap you shall sow
I looked high I looked low
Now I know that I love my life
I love my life”
Again, thanks to “HarryRunt danu” for posting this GREAT live performance from 1990:
Todd Talks “Human!”
Here’s a great promotional interivew Todd filmed at the time of release to support the album, posted on youtube by “toddrundgrenfan”…
And of course, there is SO much more classic Todd Rundgren music…
Read all about his classic “Hermit Of Mink Hollow” by clicking here:
And Todd is SO much more than a musician – he’s an inventor too!
Todd invented MTV! Read that story by clicking on here:
And of course, just “search” Todd on my site and you can see all of my stories about this amazing artist, and don’t forget to vote!