Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Todd Rundgren 11: Oops! Wrong Planet

Except for the held-over pyramid motif on the front cover and suggestion of sci-fi in the (albeit clever) title, Utopia stepped further away from prog on Oops! Wrong Planet. However, the quartet remained intact, and remained an equal partnership, though Todd, who produced, took the lion’s share of the songwriting credits.
For the most part, it’s contemporary pop-rock, with the latest synthesizers filling out the arrangements. It works best on the bids for the singles chart: the rocking “Love In Action” and the more sensitive “Love Is The Answer”, which England Dan and John Ford Coley took to the top ten two years later. “Crazy Lady Blue”, written and sung by Willie Wilcox but otherwise reminiscent of another project on the burner, gets a boost from Todd’s guitar solo, while “The Martyr” begins with wonderfully crisp acoustic chords, and it helps that Kasim Sulton has a decent voice. Elsewhere, there seems to be a concern about environmental issues and the corruption of power, particularly on “Back On The Streets”, “Gangrene”, “Rape Of The Young” and “The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell”. If there’s a concept, that’s it, and all around only four minutes.
Oops! Wrong Planet is a harmless late-‘70s rock album, with few of the mental demands of the last few Rundgren projects, and therefore worthwhile if not exactly stunning. It does bear mentioning that the individual musician portraits on the back cover are among the least flattering of anyone ever.

Utopia Oops! Wrong Planet (1977)—3

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