Cherry Red Records (label)
06 April 2015 (released)
29 April 2015
Todd Rundgren has earned the right over the last few decades for a little self-indulgence in his music. His 25th solo studio album sees him exploring the world of electronica, and at times the album does feel a little too self-indulgent. The theme appears to be the fate of our planet and the vast expanse of space. The futuristic music is possibly a deliberate juxtaposition against the environmental message.
Songs like This Island Earth describe a planet rebirth as Rundgren discusses aliens "testing us" and our "amusement from crop circles". Now in his seventh decade, the singer/producer is obviously turning cynical, as he describes humans turning "the garden of eden to hell". The song has an uncomfortable feel and angst. Elsewhere, Terra Firma describes Christopher Columbus style adventures while Earth Mother (which features his wife Michele) praises the feminine touch, with reference to Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, but also contains the dreadful lyric "we got a little bit too much testosterone, need a little more progesterone".
Better is the aptly titled Soothe and the tender Blind, which features a cracking 80s style sax solo from Bobby Strickland. The Pet Shop Boys meets Divine Flesh & Blood is great fun, as is the opening Evrybody.
This is not an easy listen for newcomers, but fans of Rundgren's music will find this an intriguing journey. Global sends two clear messages. One is to save the planet from man's follies. The other is that there is still plenty of life left in Rundgren's creative juices.