Songs Of The Day 7/16/2015: Todd Rundgren – “Black Maria” + “Little Red Lights”

Playing With Myself: One-Person Recordings – Yeah, if one's doing a feature week on music that was recorded entirely by just one person, there's really no way to avoid Todd Rundgren. Nor would I want to: If I haven't yet convinced you how much I love his 1973 album Something/Anything? above all others, I haven't been doing my job correctly. Four sides, three of them recorded all by his lonesome. And one side recorded with what amounts to whoever happened to be in the area at the time. The songs are all great, and you've heard more of them than you think. What I really loved about Something/Anything? was its sense of humor, which you'd really get if you scored a copy of the lyric booklet, but even that's not totally necessary.

Naturally the pop songs on Something/Anything? are what I adhered my face to the most, but today's selections were probably the hardest rockers that Todd had put out up to that point. "Black Maria" is a nice tweak to all those bulbous rockers that personified certain women as evil, like "Evil Ways" and "Witchy Woman." The final resolution of "if you must kill me, please let me DIIIE!" is easily funnier than anything Don Henley could wrangle out from the torn pages of his little black book of wimmen who'd crossed him, goddammit. "Little Red Lights" is a similarly comic piece about the other male obsession of the age, the fast car. Todd has the good sense to end the song with a violent car wreck, just like KISS did in "Detroit Rock City." And both of these songs are 100% certified nothing-but-Todd. It must have been a little tricker to crank out naturalist rock-band stuff all by one's self, but especially in "Black Maria" I don't hear any seams. Go wrestle them wenches and hubcaps, T.R. I'm in yr corner.
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