Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • RA [Bearsville, 1977] D+

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RA [Bearsville, 1977]
Todd Rundgren solo is a conundrum--a jaded, youthful pop technocrat whose inconsistency can be passed off as creative exuberance. Todd Rundgren bandleader is a disaster--a humorless rock progressive whose scientific know-how adds no saving details to his arid futurism. Roger Powell's circa-2001 improvements on the Hammond B-3 organ dominate as usual--it's not for nothing that Todd refers to the sun as "Ra, holy synthesizer." The first side is bad, the second unspeakable, yoking an appallingly unimaginative eighteen-minute "fairy tale" about stolen harmony to an infuriatingly impotent seven-minute preachment about Hiroshima. Why must those few rockers who espouse moral ideals do it so ineffectively? Oh, I know, mustn't criticize--just go out and achieve "Eternal Love." D+