It’s been a long drought in postings, due to some malware (anyone know how to get rid of MicroAV?) and other commitments (work, school). I think it’s appropriate that I kick things off with a review of the latest CD by my favorite artist.
Anyone who purchases “Arena” expecting a disc full of “Hello It’s Me” or “Can We Still Be Friends” is going to be a little surprised. There is an obligatory ballad (“Courage”) but that manages to rock a bit, and the majority of the album rocks a lot!
The title, “Arena,” refers to the majority of the songs having loud guitars, sing-along choruses and lots of hooks, all blended nicely into an album of fist-pumping and cerebral anthems. It took three-quarters of 2004’s “Liars” for Todd to pick up a guitar, but he more than makes up for that here.
At 60, Todd probably won't convert many new fans with this disc, although it really is a return to form and (IMHO) his best album since 1989’s masterpiece, Nearly Human. Arena's baker's dozen, one-word-named tunes are expertly crafted rock songs that push the envelope of Rundgren’s best work, current musical trends be damned. There’s a little irony in the album title, as this style of music hasn't been an arena draw since the Reagan administration.
So crank it up, raise your fist and yell! Bombastic, guitar-driven tunes like 'Mountaintop', 'Strike' and 'Mad' will have you on your feet, while the anthemic song 'Mercenary', transports you to a stadium with its epic chorus, and you're going to be singing along with 'How Do You Like Me Now?' making your neighbors doubt your sanity. A must have for all rock fans.