Todd Rundgren – A Wizard, A True Star (1973)

AllMusic Review: Something/Anything? proved that Todd Rundgren could write a pop classic as gracefully as any of his peers, but buried beneath the surface were signs that he would never be satisfied as merely a pop singer/songwriter. A close listen to the album reveals the eccentricities and restless spirit that surges to the forefront on its follow-up, A Wizard, A True Star. Anyone expecting the third record of Something/Anything?, filled with variations on “I Saw the Light” and “Hello It’s Me,” will be shocked by A Wizard. As much a mind-f*ck as an album, A Wizard, A True Star rarely breaks down to full-fledged songs, especially on the first side, where songs and melodies float in and out of a hazy post-psychedelic mist. Stylistically, there may not be much new — he touched on so many different bases on Something/Anything? that it’s hard to expand to new territory — but it’s all synthesized and assembled in fresh, strange ways. Often, it’s a jarring, disturbing listen, especially since Rundgren’s humor has turned bizarre and insular. It truly takes a concerted effort on the part of the listener to unravel the record, since Rundgren makes no concessions — not only does the soul medley jerk in unpredictable ways, but the anthemic closer, “Just One Victory,” is layered with so many overdubs that it’s hard to hear its moving melody unless you pay attention. And that’s the key to understanding A Wizard, A True Star — it’s one of those rare rock albums that demands full attention and, depending on your own vantage, it may even reward such close listening. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

All tracks are written by Todd Rundgren except where noted.

Side one – “The International Feel (in 8)”
No. Title Length
1. “International Feel” 2:50
2. “Never Never Land” (Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jule Styne) 1:34
3. “Tic Tic Tic It Wears Off” 1:14
4. “You Need Your Head” 1:02
5. “Rock and Roll Pussy” 1:08
6. “Dogfight Giggle” 1:05
7. “You Don’t Have to Camp Around” 1:03
8. “Flamingo” 2:34
9. “Zen Archer” 5:35
10. “Just Another Onionhead; Da Da Dali” 2:23
11. “When the Shit Hits the Fan; Sunset Blvd.” 4:02
12. “Le Feel Internacionale” 1:51
Total length: 26:21
Side two – “A True Star”
No. Title Length
1. “Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel” 4:16
2. “Does Anybody Love You?” 1:31
3. “Medley”

  1. “I’m So Proud” (Curtis Mayfield)
  2. “Ooh Baby Baby” (Smokey Robinson, Warren “Pete” Moore)
  3. “La La Means I Love You” (William Hart, Thom Bell)
  4. “Cool Jerk” (Donald Storball)
4. “Hungry for Love” 2:18
5. “I Don’t Want to Tie You Down” 1:56
6. “Is It My Name?” 4:01
7. “Just One Victory” 4:59
Total length: 29:35


Schill Score: 6.75/10


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