Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Todd Rundgren 27: With A Twist

So this was kinda cute. Anyone wishing Todd would do an album like one of his old classics was greeted with a collection of older songs freshly re-recorded lounge/exotica-style with his usual studio cronies. He even insisted With A Twist... was not a gag in the liner notes, alongside a photo of him standing shirtless in a large body of water.
The songs are still recognizable, but rearranged from top to bottom to highlight the ensemble. Some of the differences are striking: “I Saw The Light” plays with the meter so it sometimes feels like it’s missing a beat; “Can We Still Be Friends” gets a sax solo; “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” uses the bossa-nova setting common on any number of keyboards. “Love Is The Answer” is far from anthemic, and “Hello It’s Me” is just plain creepy. Along with a remake of “Never Never Land” from Peter Pan and Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You”, less obvious choices of his own compositions—“Influenza”, “Mated”, “Fidelity”—sound closest to their soft origins, but none more so than “A Dream Goes On Forever”.
There’s a sameness throughout the album that wears out the concept pretty quickly, but the album actually works. Anyone hearing these songs for the very first time may have a better shot at enjoying them, because they were good songs to begin with. But none surpass the original recordings.

Todd Rundgren With A Twist... (1997)—3

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