[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tr.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:He was born to synthesize.]]

->''"I only want to see if you'll give up on me,''\\
''But there's always more."''

Todd Harry Rundgren (born June 22, 1948) is an American [[SingerSongwriter singer-songwriter]], [[IAmTheBand multi-instrumentalist]] and {{record producer}} from Philadelphia, known for his [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly eclectic, experimental style]], incredibly prolific recording and quirky sense of humour. While he's dabbled in numerous styles and has experimented a lot with his material, he largely operates within a few rock subgenres, namely: PowerPop (coincidentally, the one he made his initial name in), HardRock, ProgressiveRock, Electronic/Club and RAndB (classic [=R&B=]). His [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly mix and match musical genres]] approach, dabbling in TrueArtIsIncomprehensible, cult following and emphasis on humour has earned him occasional comparisons to Music/FrankZappa.

Rundgren started his career as a guitarist/vocalist in the PsychedelicRock band (The) Nazz[[note]]nothing to do with that [[WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy other Nazz]] - their name comes from "The Nazz Are Blue" by Music/TheYardbirds[[/note]], which he founded in 1967 alongside bassist Carson Van Osten, drummer Thom Mooney and keyboardist/vocalist Robert Antoni. Their first album, ''Nazz'', showcased both his arranging and composing talents and the band's heavily derivative, PromotedFanboy sound - they sounded like a cross between Music/TheBeatles, Music/TheWho, Music/{{Cream}} and Music/TheYardbirds. It spawned a minor hit single, "Hello It's Me", and didn't go much anywhere. A planned double album was shortened to a single LP, ''Nazz Nazz'', and released a year later. ''Nazz Nazz'' showed the band somewhat abandoning its psychedelic trappings and concentrating on catchy, if still not too groundbreaking PowerPop. Rundgren left the band shortly after, as his newfound love of Music/CaroleKing, Music/LauraNyro and soul music and the resulting material he was writing didn't fit with the band's PowerPop sound. The band disintegrated shortly thereafter, and an album of the heavily Nyro-influenced material left over from previous sessions was released, imaginatively titled ''Nazz III''. Antoni and Mooney briefly ended up joining Fuse, an extremely early incarnation of Music/CheapTrick which played throughout the Midwest billed either as "Fuse" or "Nazz", before practically vanishing from the music industry.

Rundgren officially began his solo career in 1970, and has been going steady ever since then with his musical mashups and quirky lyrics. While PowerPop and HardRock have remained the basic genres he operates in, at various points he's experimented with PsychedelicRock, ProgressiveRock (between 1973-1976 and with his band Utopia), jazz fusion, NewWaveMusic, {{Soul}}, {{Techno}}, ElectronicMusic and others. Predictably, he has a very sizeable {{Fandom}} but only a few, fleeting moments of mainstream success, most notably the singles "Hello It's Me" (a 1972 upbeat reworking of the Nazz song), "I Saw the Light", "Can We Still Be Friends", "We Gotta Get You a Woman", and "Bang the Drum All Day". (Utopia's best known song is almost certainly either "Love Is the Answer" or "Set Me Free".) His massive output, both solo and with his two bands Nazz and Utopia, can be a frequent source of both ArchivePanic and SeasonalRot.

He is also known for being an [[FollowTheLeader early adopter and innovator]] in the domains of {{Music Video}}s and use of computers: his video for "Time Heals" was one of the first to be aired on Creator/{{MTV}}, he developed one of the first computer paint programs for the Apple II, Utopia Graphics System, way back in 1981, he was an early adopter of the desktop video program Video Toaster[[note]]the same hardware responsible for most of the CGI in ''Series/BabylonFive''[[/note]] for Amiga in TheNineties, and was one of the first people to distribute his work online, long before iTunes or even Napster, through a subscription service, [=PatroNet=], in the mid-nineties.

Rundgren returned to the band format through the foundation of Utopia in 1973. In its initial incarnation, Utopia was a six-piece ensemble with Rundgren, Kevin Ellman (percussion), Mark "Moogy" Klingman (keyboards), M. Frog Labat (Jean Yves Labat, synthesizers), Ralph Schukett (keyboards), and John Siegler (bass and cello). Their output was largely formed of [[EpicRocking long]], jammy ProgressiveRock instrumentals that brought a mixed critical reception (however, Utopia's début album, ''Todd Rundgren's Utopia'', was its second-best selling album, only surpassed by ''Adventures in Utopia'', and is considered by many ProgressiveRock fans to be a CultClassic). By 1976, Rundgren revamped Utopia and reduced it to a four-piece band consisting of him, Kasim Sulton (bass, vocals), Roger Powell (keyboards, vocals) and Willie Wilcox (drums, vocals). They also switched to a catchy, mainstream pop/HardRock sound, bringing them critical and commercial success. They carried on for a while, leaning increasingly towards Pop and NewWaveMusic, before calling it a day in 1986.

Alongside his solo career and work with bands, Rundgren is also known as a RecordProducer, having produced albums for such acts as Music/{{Sparks}}, Music/NewYorkDolls, Badfinger, Music/TheBand, Music/GrandFunkRailroad, Music/MeatLoaf, Bonnie Tyler, Music/PattiSmith, The Tubes, Music/{{XTC}}, Music/BadReligion, Music/CheapTrick, The Psychedelic Furs, Hall and Oates, and so on. Some of the bands have claimed that working with him was difficult and he acted like a JerkAss, most famously XTC, Sparks and Bad Religion. However, for many bands their most successful albums have been produced by him, as is the case with XTC (''Music/{{Skylarking}}''), Grand Funk Railroad (''We're an American Band'') and Meat Loaf (''Music/BatOutOfHell'').

Discography:

With Nazz:
* ''Nazz'' (1968)
* ''Nazz Nazz'' (1969)
* ''Nazz III'' (1970)

Solo:
* ''Runt'' (1970; PowerPop)
* ''Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren'' (1971; BaroquePop)
* ''Music/SomethingAnything'' (1972; BaroquePop, PowerPop, SingerSongwriter, NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly)
* ''A Wizard, a True Star'' (1973; PsychedelicRock, NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly)
* ''Todd'' (1974; ProgressiveRock, NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly)
* ''Initiation'' (1975; ProgressiveRock, NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly)
* ''Faithful'' (1976; PowerPop, CoverAlbum)
* ''Hermit of Mink Hollow'' (1978; NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly)
* ''Healing'' (1981; NewWaveMusic, PowerPop, SynthPop, ProgressiveRock)
* ''The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect'' (1983; NewWaveMusic)
* ''A Cappella'' (1985; ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin)
* ''Nearly Human'' (1989; NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly)
* ''2nd Wind'' (1991; LiveAlbum)
* ''No World Order'' (1993; {{Techno}})
* ''The Individualist'' (1995; {{Techno}})
* ''With a Twist'' (1997; Bossa Nova, RearrangeTheSong)
* ''Up Against It'' (1998)
* ''One Long Year'' (2000; PowerPop)
* ''Liars'' (2004; PowerPop, SynthPop)
* ''Arena'' (2008; ArenaRock)
* ''Todd Rundgren's Johnson'' (2011; CoverAlbum)
* ''(re)Production'' (2011; CoverAlbum)
* ''State'' (2013; {{Techno}}, SynthPop)
* ''Global'' (2015; {{Techno}}, SynthPop)

With Utopia:

* ''Todd Rundgren's Utopia'' (1974; ProgressiveRock)
* ''Another Live'' (1975; ProgressiveRock)
* ''Disco Jets'' (recorded 1976, released 2001; {{Disco}})
* ''Ra'' (1977; ProgressiveRock)
* ''Oops! Wrong Planet'' (1977; PowerPop)
* ''Adventures in Utopia'' (1980; ProgressiveRock, {{Disco}}, PowerPop)
* ''Deface the Music'' (1980; BritishInvasion, PsychedelicRock)
* ''Swing to the Right'' (1982; NewWaveMusic)
* ''Utopia'' (1982; NewWaveMusic)
* ''Oblivion'' (1984; NewWaveMusic)
* ''P.O.V.'' (1985; NewWaveMusic)

Notable albums produced by Todd Rundgren

* ''New York Dolls'' (1973) by Music/NewYorkDolls.
* ''Music/BatOutOfHell'' (1977) by Music/MeatLoaf.
* ''Music/{{Wave}}'' (1979) by Music/PattiSmith, where Rundgren also did the engineering and plays bass guitar.
* ''Music/{{Skylarking}}'' (1986) by Music/{{XTC}}.

!Tropes:

* AffectionateParody: The Utopia album ''Deface the Music'' is largely a parody of Music/TheBeatles, from their early Merseybeat incarnation up to their trippy PsychedelicRock stuff.
** The cover of ''Swing to the Right'' retouches a photo of fundamentalist Christians burning Beatles memorabilia following Music/JohnLennon's 'more popular than Jesus' remarks to turn it into a DrosteImage.
* AlcoholInducedIdiocy: "Party Liquor"
* AllThereInTheManual: His liner notes for ''Something/Anything?'' provide commentary on either the concept or the meaning of the lyrics for every song on the album, including adding additional libretto for the ending "pop operetta".
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: "I Don't Want to Tie You Down" and "Couldn't I Just Tell You" provide two very different takes on the trope; the former is a heartfelt ballad declaring that the singer doesn't wish to cause his beloved any inconvenience or hardship, while the latter is an emotionally wrought PowerPop rocker.
* AscendedFanboy: Musically speaking, his early Nazz output is largely a game of {{Follow The Lead|er}} of his favourite bands (Music/TheWho, Music/TheBeatles, Music/{{Cream}} and Music/TheYardbirds, mostly).
* AtomicHate: The subject of "Hiroshima", if the title didn't make it obvious.
* AuthorTract:
** His 1975 album ''Initiation'' was a retort to his fans who wanted him to ditch the synthesizers and Buddhist symbolism that had crept into his crunchy rock sound. Instead, he went on for 68 full minutes about it, telling his fans that he was a "Real Man" "Born to Synthesize", and taunting them to follow him or lose him forever. This ended with the 35-minute synth freakout that closed the album, named after a book by occult author Alice Bailey (who also inspired the Music/VelvetUnderground's "Music/WhiteLightWhiteHeat") and containing movements named after the seven chakras.
** Every song on ''Liars'' is a ProtestSong about some form of untruth Rundgren feels people have accepted in their daily lives, from gender essentialist views of relationships ("Happy Anniversary") to greed ("Mammon") to the present-day state of the music industry ("Soul Brother") to religion ("God Said") to various political topics. However, this is a clear case of TropesAreNotBad, as it's one of his most loved albums since TheEighties.
* {{Autotune}}: Used sparingly in "Afterlife". Also done in the verses of "Sir Reality" to emphasize the artificiality of the concepts Rundgren is denouncing.
* {{Bishonen}}: In the Nazz days also perhaps in the early 70's.
* BlatantLies: The verses of "Sir Reality" are a mixture of obvious falsehoods ("no one ever lies", "the ocean has no salt") and various beliefs Todd is implicitly attacking by association (including gender essentialism - "Girls are girls and boys are boys" - and SocialDarwinism - "lack is all your fault", "the rich deserve to be"). This is done in so few words as to be almost awe-inspiring to those who agree with his stances.
* {{Bookends}}: The first side of ''A Wizard, a True Star'' and both individual sides of ''Initiation'' each open and close with the same melody.
* BreakUpSong: One possible interpretation of "Hello It's Me", although see FriendsWithBenefits below. "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference", "The Last Ride", and "Can We Still Be Friends?" are other, less ambiguous examples.
* BrokenRecord: A couple of instances on ''A Wizard, a True Star'', namely the end of "Rock & Roll Pussy", and the transition between "International Feel" and "Never Never Land".
* CallBack: "Fair Warning" contains references to several of Rundgren's past songs: "A Long Time, a Long Way to Go", "I Saw the Light", "Just One Victory" and "A Dream Goes On Forever" (one on each of his solo albums back through ''The Ballad of Todd Rundgren'').
* CallForward: "La Feel Internacìonále", from 1973's ''A Wizard, a True Star'', contains the line "Wait another year/Utopia is here". The next year, Utopia would release its self-titled début album.
* CampGay: "You Don't Have to Camp Around", a lighthearted razzing of costume designer Larry Nichols, who fit the CampGay trope in real life.
* ClassClown: "Piss Aaron".
* ClusterFBomb: "Flaw" is a hilarious example of this trope. The word "motherfucker" sung with harmonies in a blue-eyed soul style is... not something you hear every day.
* ConceptAlbum:
** ''Initiation'' is one (see TakeThatCritics below.)
** The first side of ''Faithful'' was about faithfully recreating classic pop and rock songs note for note.
** Side four of ''Something/Anything?'' is a RockOpera (see trope entry below).
** ''Healing'' also qualifies, as it explores spirituality and how it relates to various aspects of society.
** ''Liars'' is a concept album about... well... ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. (The liner notes comment that superficially some songs may seem to be about other topics, but "that is just a reflection of how much dishonesty we have accepted in our daily lives"; they all relate in some way to the album's concept of "a paucity of truth".)
** ''Deface the Music'' is a loose one, as every song is an AffectionateParody of some period of Music/TheBeatles' career, though there is no overarching lyrical theme.
* CoverVersion:
** "Never Never Land" from the ''Theatre/PeterPan'' musical, "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" by Music/TheYardbirds, "Good Vibrations" by the Music/TheBeachBoys, "Rain" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" by Music/TheBeatles, "If 6 Was 9" by Music/JimiHendrix, "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (and I'll Go Mine)" by Music/BobDylan, "The Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song" by Creator/GilbertAndSullivan (yes, we're not shitting you), "Two Little Hitlers" by Music/ElvisCostello, "Mighty Love" by the Spinners, "Feel It" by the Tubes (though this is partially a self-cover as Rundgren was involved in producing the original and co-wrote it, and two former members of the band appear on Rundgren's version). Several of these were performed as note-for-note covers as if they were classical music, which is the concept of the first half of ''Faithful''.
** ''Todd Rundgren's Johnson'' is an entire album of Music/RobertJohnson covers (and not [[ICallHimMrHappy what you thought it was]]), and ''(re)Production'' consists of covers of songs from albums Rundgren had previously produced.
** And with Utopia, a cover of "Do Ya" by the Move (though better known from Music/ElectricLightOrchestra's version, a rare example of an artist [[CoveredUp Covering Up]] his own song), "Something's Coming" by Music/LeonardBernstein, and "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays. (Incidentally, the reason ELO re-recorded "Do Ya" is because a music journalist [[CowboyBebopAtHisComputer confused Utopia's version for the original]], so Utopia's version could be considered to have temporarily CoveredUp the song as well).
*** Speaking of artists Covering Up their own songs, ''Something/Anything?'' features Rundgren's hit remake of "Hello It's Me", which he'd originally done with Nazz.
** ''A Wizard, a True Star'' has a medley of Creator/{{Motown}} covers: Music/CurtisMayfield's "I'm So Proud", Smokey Robinson's "Ooh Baby Baby", the Delfonics' "La-La Means I Love You", and, most interestingly, the Capitols' "Cool Jerk" performed in 7/8 instead of its normal 4/4.
** Live, Rundgren was known to cover several Music/MarvinGaye songs as a medley. "Music/WhatsGoingOn", "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)", and "I Want You" were included. Two versions can be found on the ''Can't Stop Running'' box set.
* DeadpanSnarker: Known for being an extreme one. It has even damaged relationships with other musicians and has left people whose work he produced feeling insecure.
* DistinctDoubleAlbum: A lot of his albums either exaggerate it or play with it.
** ''Something/Anything?'' cranks this UpToEleven: each of the four LP sides is in a different style, with the fourth being a mini-RockOpera.[[note]]Side one is described in the liner notes as "a bouquet of ear-catching melodies"; side two is "the cerebral side"; side three is "the kid gets heavy"; side four is "Baby Needs a New Pair of Snakeskin Boots (A Pop Operetta)".[[/note]]
** Several of his albums are Distinct Single Albums, despite Rundgren often needing to stretch the limitations of the vinyl format to accomplish this:
*** ''A Wizard, a True Star'' (running time 56:02): The first side is devoted to a bizarre psychedelic medley of songs Rundgren constructed. The second was more conventional (but it's still plenty weird).
*** ''Initiation'' (running time 67:27): The first side mostly consists of fairly conventional ProgressiveRock (well, as conventional as prog gets, anyway), while the second side is devoted entirely to a lengthy instrumental synthesizer workout. Both sides, at over thirty-two and over thirty-five minutes respectively, are longer than many contemporary full-length albums.
*** ''Faithful'' (running time 50:04): The first side consists of note-for-note covers of other artists' songs as if they were classical music (hence the album title), and the second consists of original material.
*** ''Hermit of Mink Hollow'' (running time 34:50) was forced by executive meddling into this. Rundgren intended a different running order, but the record company insisted on making the first side "The Easy Side" and the second side "The Difficult Side".
*** Notably, the only thing that stops ''Initiation'' and ''A Wizard, a True Star'' from playing this trope completely straight is that they were pressed on one LP each because Rundgren didn't want to break up the continuous song suites he'd built. Both albums were long enough to be double LP sets, and indeed Rundgren's double album ''Todd'', released in between them, ''was'' shorter than ''Initiation'' at 66:51. However, ''Todd'' does not feature markedly different styles between its two records (mostly because it features too much GenreRoulette for either record to have a single distinguishing style), so it is arguably not an example of this trope.
** ''Healing'' (running time 53:48) is a particularly strange example, since the vinyl edition contains an LP and a 45 rpm 7" single. The first side contains six different songs; the second side is entirely devoted to the twenty-minute title track, and the 7" contains two additional songs that relate to the LP's themes but are a bit catchier. Perhaps the strangest part of all is that the combined running time of the second side plus the running time of the single (26:40) is actually shorter than the running time of the first side of the album (27:08). It is possible that Rundgren put the last two songs on the single because he wanted to place emphasis on the title track. Musically, the whole album is of a similar style, but the length of the title track makes it stand out. On CD, the album is included on a single disc, with the single put at the end.
* DoubleEntendre: It's extremely uncommon for any of Todd's recent songs to have only one meaning. As an example, "Angry Bird" might just seem to be a silly song about a silly mobile phone game, but Rundgren has noted that "the basis for the War on Women is also the basis for the game ''VideoGame/AngryBirds''. Some pigs are trying to control the reproduction of the birds." Some metaphors are less silly than this, and some aren't even metaphors at all (many songs have other meanings that aren't based on metaphors), but it's rare for the surface meaning of a song to be its only one.
* DownerEnding: The RockOpera that closes out ''Music/SomethingAnything'' ends with the protagonist [[DidNotGetTheGirl not getting the girl]] and then dying from exhaustion after screaming his lungs out. This probably won't be obvious without [[AllThereInTheManual the liner notes]].
* DrosteImage: The cover of ''Swing to the Right''.
* EpicRocking: Hoo boy.
** Utopia did this a lot to begin with. "The Ikon" is Utopia's most extreme example, being slightly over thirty minutes long.
** His solo piece "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire" (from ''Initiation''), at over thirty-five minutes, is even longer.
*** These compositions were so long they heavily stretched the limitations of the vinyl format, and resulted in the albums being mastered more quietly than normal [=LPs=] (and thus having a higher noise floor), and being easily damaged if played with a worn needle. Rundgren also allegedly sped up the material on ''Initation'' to shorten it by two to three minutes. The sleeve notes of ''Initiation'' (which, at sixty-eight minutes in length, is not the longest single LP ever released, but still pretty high on the list) recommended that a person record the album to tape to preserve the sound. Albums such as ''Todd Rundgren's Utopia'' and ''A Wizard, a True Star'' also suffered from the danger of being easily damaged.
** "Healing", divided into three movements and spanning almost twenty minutes, is another noteworthy example.
** Utopia's "Singring and the Glass Guitar (An Electrified Fairytale)", which exceeds eighteen minutes, is yet another extreme example.
** This is far from being an exhaustive list; on some of his mid-'70s albums, more songs exceeded six minutes than didn't. (On the first Utopia album, only one song was ''less'' than ten minutes long; the album has only four songs despite running for nearly an hour).
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: the album ''A cappella'', named for an Italian phrase meaning "without instruments," involves no instruments whatever, just Rundgren as a SelfBackingVocalist via lots of overdubbing and sampling.
* FadingIntoTheNextSong: All of ''Initiation'' (apart from the LP side break) and ''Liars'' (apart from the Japanese release) and the entire first side of ''A Wizard, a True Star'' and fourth side of ''Music/SomethingAnything'' are gapless. ''Todd''[[note]]("How About a Little Fanfare?"->"I Think You Know"->"The Spark of Life"->"An Elpee's Worth of Tunes", "A Dream Goes On Forever"->"Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song", "Useless Begging"->"Sidewalk Cafe"->"Izzat Love?"->"Heavy Metal Kids")[[/note]], ''Arena''[[note]]("Mad"->"Afraid"->"Mercenary"->"Gun", "Pissin"->"Today", "Bardo"->"Mountaintop")[[/note]], and the other side of ''A Wizard, a True Star''[[note]]("Does Anybody Love You?"->Motown medley, "Hungry for Love"->"I Don't Want to Tie You Down"->"Is It My Name?")[[/note]] also have a lot of this, but an exhaustive list would probably double the length of this page.
* ForWantOfANail: "The Want of a Nail".
* FriendsWithBenefits: One common interpretation of "Hello It's Me" is that it's about this.
* GenreRoulette: Rundgren has often demonstrated quite a fondness for this, particularly in the stretch of albums recorded from ''Music/SomethingAnything'' through ''Initiation'', which have songs delving into SingerSongwriter, PsychedelicRock, SynthPop, PowerPop, Creator/{{Motown}}-influenced {{Soul}}, {{Disco}}, ProgressiveRock, and even {{opera}}, amongst other genres. However, this has been a staple of his entire career; see the list of associated genres next to his discography above for proof.
* IAmTheBand: Frequently Rundgren is the only featured performer and usually produces his own material, and in many cases even engineers it as well. (Examples include, but are not limited to, the first three sides of ''Music/SomethingAnything'', ''Hermit of Mink Hollow'', ''Healing'', ''The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect'', and ''A capella'', with the last of these being a particularly strange example since every sound you hear on the album is Rundgren's voice). His bands tended to be examples of this as well, to the point where Runt's two solo albums have been released as Rundgren solo albums (and are considered as such on this very wiki), Nazz is known today mostly for being Rundgren's first band, and Utopia often performed on Rundgren solo albums as his backing band (see ''Faithful'', ''Todd'', and ''Initiation'' for examples).
* [[IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming Idiosyncratic Song Naming]]: Every song on ''Arena'' has a OneWordTitle. Some of these are the result of multiple words being mashed together.
* {{Instrumentals}}: Several of them. The longest is "A Treatise on Cosmic Fire" from ''Initiation'', which is over thirty-five minutes long.
* IntentionallyAwkwardTitle: "Piss Aaron", "Slut", "Rock and Roll Pussy", "When the Shit Hits the Fan/Sunset Blvd.", "Pissin", etc.
* InTheStyleOf: Did this with [[SelfParody his own songs]] on the album ''With a Twist'', which offered bossa nova tiki lounge versions of his most familiar hits.
* IWantMyJetpack: "Future" from ''Liars''.
--> I'm supposed to drive a flying car
--> I'm supposed to have a house on mars
--> I'm supposed to live two hundred years
--> I'm supposed to live
--> I'm supposed to live in the future...
* JerkJock: "Pissin" is about one of these.
* JustForPun: In case you somehow didn't get the title of ''Todd Rundgren's Johnson'', he titled the EP version ''[[SelfDeprecation Todd Rundgren's Short Johnson]]''.
* LimitedLyricsSong: Utopia's material could get this way. "The Ikon" is around thirty minutes long and comparatively very little of it has lyrics.
* LiveAlbum: ''Nearly Human'' is a somewhat unusual example, as it was recorded entirely live in the studio. The same is true of the fourth side of ''Music/SomethingAnything''. He has several straight examples recorded in concert venues before live audiences as well, however.
* LoudnessWar: Mostly averted, but ''Arena'' comes in at a borderline [=DR6=].
* MediumAwareness: Side 2 of ''Something/Anything?'' has Todd introducing a game where the listeners keep an ear out for record mastering gaffes -- hiss, hum, popping P's, poor tape editing -- whoever finds the most on their album of choice, wins!
* {{Medley}}: Many, including "Baby Let's Swing"/"The Last Thing You Said"/"Don't Tie My Hands" on ''Runt'', "That's What I Want"/"Messin' with the Kid" on ''Music/SomethingAnything'', and a medley of Motown covers on ''A Wizard, a True Star''. Live he would often perform these as well, including a medley of Music/MarvinGaye covers.
* MenAreTough: This idea, in exactly these words, is derided in "All the Children Sing", as is the idea that "women are toys". Several other songs also challenge these ideas, further detailed below under MisogynySong.
* MetalScream: Todd can do these pretty effectively when the situation calls for them. "Strike" is a particularly noteworthy example.
* MindScrew: ''A Wizard, a True Star'' for sure. And ''Todd'' and ''Initiation'' to an extent. It was his psychedelic period!
* MinimalisticCoverArt: ''Faithful''
** Done specifically because he figured his fans were "faithful" enough to know it's his music and buy it.
* MinorFlawMajorBreakup: The subject of "Flaw" in ''Liars''.
* MisogynySong[=/=]MisandrySong: Outside of the context of Todd's work and especially the album it appears on, "Happy Anniversary" from ''Liars'' might be read as a sincere example of both tropes rather than the sardonic attack on gender essentialism that it actually is. The liner notes help clear this up to a certain extent, as they explicitly say that every song on the album is about some form of dishonesty we've accepted in our daily lives even if it initially seems to be about something else, as does the rest of Todd's work. "Earth Mother" from ''Global'' expresses sincere praise of activists Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai for challenging established power structures of racism and patriarchy and can therefore be considered an inversion of the Misogyny Song. "Pissin" derides an exemplar of toxic masculinity as "a one-man pissing contest". "Real Man" is in part about how one should not allow oneself to be defined by traditional gender roles. And so on. Some of his earliest work (e.g., "We Gotta Get You a Woman") may read as vaguely misogynistic to modern audiences but is more likely an example of FairForItsDay.
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: Can go anywhere from a 1 ("Torch Song", "I Don't Want to Tie You Down") to about a 6 ("Is It My Name?", "Heavy Metal Kids", "Everybody's Going to Heaven/King Kong Reggae", "The Death of Rock and Roll", "Gun").
* MoneySong: Inverted with "Mammon", which denounces greed.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: "I Hate My Frickin' ISP", from ''One Long Year'', is a hard-rocking rant about how much Todd's internet connection sucks.
* MusicalPastiche:
** Many of the songs from the first Nazz album are pretty blatantly derivative of BritishInvasion bands. Doesn't stop them from being enjoyable, though.
*** "Open My Eyes" is basically ripping off Music/TheWho's PowerPop era, a fact that the intro makes abundantly clear when it yanks the riff of "I Can't Explain" with one chord altered.
*** "When I Get My Plane" sounds like it was beamed in from ''Music/AHardDaysNight'', specifically imitating "When I Get Home".
*** "Back of Your Mind" sounds like a Music/{{Cream}} song stripped of instrumental virtuosity; Antoni and Rundgren even do a convincing job of sounding like Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton.
** "I Saw the Light" is a Music/CaroleKing pastiche.
** Also "Baby Let's Swing" (included as a medley on ''Runt'') is both about and in the style of Music/LauraNyro, his other major influence from this period.
** Utopia's ''Deface the Music'' is a whole ''album'' of these. It's composed entirely of [[AffectionateParody Affectionate Parodies]] of Beatles songs, similar to Music/TheRutles' music, and as with Music/TheRutles, a listener could be forgiven for thinking these are lost Beatles songs (although the production sounds like a product of of the 1980s - maybe it was a Beatles reunion from an alternate universe where Music/JohnLennon didn't die). It should be noted that Utopia don't do dead-on Beatles vocal impersonations as the Rutles did, however.
** "Slut" could be a lost [[Music/TheRollingStones Rolling Stones]] song, if it weren't so comedic.
** "Song of the Viking", "An Elpee's Worth of Toons", and "Frogs" are all GilbertAndSullivan pastiches.
** "Little Red Lights" is a musical tribute to Music/JimiHendrix.
** "Strike" for Music/{{ACDC}}. Todd even does his best Bon Scott/Brian Johnson impression in the choruses.
* MustHaveCaffeine: "Espresso (All Jacked Up)" from ''The Individualist''.
* MyGirlIsASlut: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Slut"]].
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: ''A Wizard, a True Star'' is psychedelic without a doubt, but it also breaks free of the constraints of any one genre. He would continue this experimentation on ''Todd'' and ''Initiation'', which also delved head-first into ProgressiveRock.
* NewSoundAlbum: Almost every one of them.
* NoEnding: "La Feel Internacìonále" just cuts off without warning.
* PatterSong: "Song of the Viking", "An Elpee's Worth of Toons", "Frogs", "The Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song". The first three of these are tributes to Music/GilbertAndSullivan, who wrote the latter (and are pretty much the TropeCodifier).
* {{Polyamory}}: Some of his songs seem to suggest either this or an open relationship, such as "I Don't Want to Tie You Down", which implies that the singer would be unwilling to demand monogamy of a lover, and "Fidelity", which flat-out states as much:
--> "True love does not demand fidelity
--> If there's one sacred place always in your heart for me
--> If my love could not withstand this jealousy
--> I'd remember the day I threw away our eternity"
:: For that matter, "Slut" could be considered a less serious take on the trope.
* PopStarComposer: He scored ''Film/DumbAndDumber''.
* ProtestSong: Todd began moving more into this during TheEighties, with songs like Utopia's cover of "For the Love of Money", "Swing to the Right", "Flesh", "Johnee Jingo", and later on, just about all of ''No World Order'', ''The Individualist'', and ''Liars'', as well as parts of ''Arena'', ''State'', and ''Global''.
* RearrangeTheSong: ''With a Twist'' consists of previously recorded songs, rearranged in a bossa-nova style.
** Also done on the bonus disc of ''State'', where fourteen previous songs are given live orchestral remakes.
** Live concerts usually reflect the most recent album, which leads to rearrangement of the older songs in turn. The ''A Capella'' tour is the clearest example by far, though. A recording from this tour can be found on the box set ''Can't Stop Running''.
* RecordNeedleScratch: The "Intro" to Side 2 of ''Something/Anything?'' ends in one of these.
* RecordProducer: To his credit, he was the only producer that figured that Music/MeatLoaf's ''Bat Out of Hell'' had potential. He also found it hilarious, which is why he produced it.
* ReligionRantSong: "God Said", "Fascist Christ", "Family Values", "Afterlife", "Mammon"...
** Despite this, some of his songs can also verge into... well, NotChristianRock might not be the correct territory, but "Something from Nothing" is about having faith in ''something'' (which could just as easily be an abstract concept such as justice rather than a deity). On the ''other'' hand, an intended interpretation of the song is to ask whether, if all one has is faith, it is possible to know anything for certain. There's rarely only one meaning to any of Todd's songs. Some of his other songs explore spirituality from a serious ("Fair Warning", "Initiation", most of ''Healing'') or not that serious ("Eastern Intrigue") perspective.
* RockOpera: Side four of ''Something/Anything?'' is devoted to "Baby Needs a New Pair of Snakeskin Boots (A Pop Operetta)".
* SelfBackingVocalist: Todd's use of layering his own harmonies is unique in rock music and fairly common in his work, regardless of genre. It was even used in his work with Nazz, and taken to its logical extreme on his 1985 ''A Cappella'', where every single sound on the album uses his own voice as its foundation, thanks both to this trope and {{Sampling}}.
* SelfDeprecation: "An Elpee's Worth of Tunes".
* SiameseTwinSongs: Done a lot, including the entire first side of ''A Wizard, a True Star'', the entire first side of ''Initiation'', and most of ''Liars''. The rare exceptions on ''Liars'' use FadingIntoTheNextSong instead. (Note: the Japanese version of ''Liars'' does not do either; each song has a complete fade-out).
* SincerityMode: After a string of several albums where a lot of songs had multiple intended meanings that often differed from their surface interpretations, ''Global'' consists almost entirely of lyrically straightforward, sincerely intended {{Protest Song}}s.
* TheSomethingSong: "Song of the Viking" and "Torch Song", both from ''Music/SomethingAnything''.
* SpecialGuest: Soul legend Bobby Womack provides guest vocals on "The Want of a Nail". Music/LutherVandross' appearances on Utopia records were arguably not an example, as they were made [[RetroactiveRecognition before he was famous]].
* SpellingSong: "Slut".
* SpokenWordInMusic: He does this often. "Intro" from ''Music/SomethingAnything'', for example, wherein Todd jokingly demonstrates some of the engineering flaws that can affect an [=LP=].
* StudioChatter + ThrowItIn: ''Something/Anything?''
* TakeThat: "Rock and Roll Pussy" is a shot at Music/JohnLennon, whom Rundgren perceived as something of a limousine liberal.
** Several towards the modern music industry in "Soul Brother".
** Towards American gun culture in "Gun".
* TakeThatCritics: ''Initiation'' as a whole was Rundgren yelling "tough shit" to his fans and critics who complained that he was wading too deeply into synthesizers and Eastern spirituality. The topic is lyrically addressed at face value in the song "The Death of Rock and Roll", and the title track and "Fair Warning" obliquely indicate that Rundgren is ready to break new ground and the listener can either follow along or tune out. The album concludes with a 35 minute synthesizer orgasm, with movements named after the seven chakras and prana, the breath of life.
* UncommonTime: "Cool Jerk", "Is It My Name?", "Don't You Ever Learn?", "Freak Parade", "Another Life", "Weakness", amongst countless other examples; the use of 7/8 time and other compound meter signatures is one of Rundgren's compositional hallmarks. "Initiation" is a strange example as it's also influenced by {{disco}} (a style which almost always uses nothing but CommonTime, with Music/{{Blondie}}'s "Heart of Glass" being one obvious exception), but nonetheless the meter signature jumps all over the place.
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: In the liner notes to ''Music/SomethingAnything'', several lines of "Song of the Viking" are written with added silent Es, even though Vikings don't originate from the British Isles. Rundgren explicitly states in the liner notes that the song is a tribute to Music/GilbertAndSullivan, who were most definitely British.
* YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre: Some of his work runs along these themes, particularly "Time Heals", which tells the listener that they are capable of getting over a broken heart, and "Today", which is very nearly a pep talk in song form.
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