Todd Rundgren! Utopia! “Oblivion!” Ironic Title Twist To Neglected Gem!

utopia-oblivion-album

Utopia’s Lost Treasure!

All hardcore Todd Rundgren and Utopia fans know about this album, but for the more “casual” Todd Rundgren fan, you may have missed one of Utopia’s neglected gems: a terrific collection of power pop tunes – as the band had a terrific creative run in the early 80’s before finally disbanding…

utopia-oblivion

None Blacker!

That line, paraphrased from “This Is Spinal Tap”, says it all…the cover is completely black, with an embossed title and Utopia logo…stark, and certainly darker than the great power pop inside…here’s a listen:

ca. 1983 --- Members of the band Utopia from left to right: Jon Wilcox, Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, and Roger Powell. --- Image by © CORBIS

ca. 1983 — Members of the band Utopia from left to right: Jon Wilcox, Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, and Roger Powell. — Image by © CORBIS

All of the songs on “Oblivion” are credited as written by Utopia, a true group effort…

The album begins with “Itch in My Brain”, a power pop song that has a muscular hook, great harmonies, and a tight sound….here is an audio only live version from the band’s Japan tour in the early 90’s:

“Love with a Thinker” and “Bring Me My Longbow” are next, then a “why wasn’t this a hit single?” song:

“If I Didn’t Try”

“If I didn’t care, if I didn’t care
Sometimes I think I must be crazy for doing this
(You can never run away)
But how would I know it’s a losing cause
If I didn’t try, if I didn’t try”

“If I Didn’t Try” is a great ballad, with Todd’s strong vocals matched by great , creative musicianship around it.

I can’t find any videos at all for this gem, but here is the audio:

“Too Much Water” is next: a terrific power pop song with an infectious, calypso beat – again, I haven’t found any videos on YouTube to share, but here is the audio of a longer, dance version of the song:

Kasim Sultan solo music Utopia

“Maybe I Could Change” follows, with lead vocals by Kasim Sulton. This is another mid-tempo ballad with great harmonies.

Here is a great live version from Kasim in 2015:

oblivion-utopia

Yes, A Music Video!

Finally, the album has a music video, and it’s a great one! “Crybaby” is pure power pop, an uptempo rocker that is Utopia at its power pop best.

Here is the terrific music video for the song:

“Welcome to My Revolution” and “Winston Smith Takes It on the Jaw” are next, another pair of upbeat examples of 80’s power pop.

The album wraps with a beautiful love song “I Will Wait” – with a cascading waterfall of harmonies at the end…

utopia-oblivion

“Oblivion” was just that, as the album only made to to #74 on the charts, and none of the singles charted…too bad as it was, once again, great 80’s power pop!

spinal-tap

I mentioned that the black album cover reminds me of Spinal Tap – did you know that Utopia was an inspiration for one of the funniest moments in the film?

Spinal Tap Todd Rundgren

Yes, the hilarious “broken egg” sequence in the film was inspired by an early Utopia concert! Read about it here:

https://johnrieber.com/2013/07/13/these-go-to-eleven-todd-rundgrens-spinal-tap-connection/

Utopia had a number of great albums, including this classic:

utopia-todd-rundgren-1982-network

Their second self-titled “Utopia” album was great power pop – see some music videos here:

https://johnrieber.com/2016/06/30/todd-rundgrens-utopia-2-a-neglected-80s-power-pop-classic-kasim-sultans-departure-and-return/

Finally, I talk a lot about “power pop”, which was a very popular genre in the 80’s:

Power Pop!

Todd was a master genre – here are some of my favorite Todd power pop songs:


https://johnrieber.com/2015/09/02/todd-rundgrens-power-pop-the-finger-snapping-story-of-a-pop-music-sound/

Let me know your “Oblivion” favorites!

utopia-oblivion-album



Categories: 70's Music, Art, Books / Media, Classic Rock, Independent Cinema, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, Todd Rundgren, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. One of my favorite Utopia albums.

  2. You are such a loyal Todd fan, John! Great to see mention of ‘Spinal Tap’ again too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Byrnewithme

Travel, Coffee & Lifestyle Blog

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

Movie Reviews 101

Reviews, Trailers, Top5's, Star Focus

Hugh's Views & News

A man with dyslexia writing about this and that and everything else!

Cindy Bruchman

Films. Travel. Photography. Books. Let's talk.

lazy day project

slow down or you’ll miss the best part

From Michigan to Germany

A family from Michigan living abroad in Germany.

Singular Sarah

Humor, Attempted. Clumsiness, Guaranteed.

JR-Sploitation!

The world's wildest movies from an era of "everything goes!"

A Little Life Rounded

A blog about making and being inspired by theatre

Eclectic Alli

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

fancypaper

Little Things Make Us Happy

Ellenbest24

words and scribble.

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt

Cult Of The Cinema

Exploring Cinematic Diversity

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!

beetleypete

The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

The Bloomin Brilliant Blog

A little lifestyle blog

Suzie Speaks

The Adventures Of a Thirty-Something Life

The Phil Factor

Where Sarcasm Gets Drunk and Let's Its Hair Down

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

The BookWorm Drinketh

Give Tea to the Tillerman, But Booze to the Bookworm!

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

Esme Salon

Share, Care & Inspire

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Live, Love & Voyage

Living How I Know Best

First Night History

How can we improve our future if we don't understand the past?

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Come for Adventure. Stay for the Ride!

Gin & Lemonade

...with a twist

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

a mindful traveler

explore, live, love...

Half Baked In Paradise

Searching, settling, sauteeing and spritzing

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...

By Hook Or By Book

Book Reviews, News, and Other Stuff

alexvorkovwriter

Flaming Goats Heads of Terror

Admit One Film Addict

Psychotronic Cinema

Let's Go To The Movies

Film and Theatre Lover!

Susartandfood's Blog

A taste of humor about life, art and food

emmakwall (explains it all)

Film & soundtrack reviews, good humour and lists

lloydmarken

Do Yourself a Favour

You hear that?!?

An electronic record of learning of things

Tangled Up In Music

Music Reviews (and other things)

The Immortal Jukebox

A Blog about Music and Popular Culture

Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

anotherdayinparadise

Travels in Paradise

%d bloggers like this: