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Adventures In Utopia

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Album Review

Oops! Wrong Planet wrote the blueprint for Utopia Mach II, but the group didn't deliver the polished, radio-ready follow-up Adventures in Utopia until two and a half years had elapsed. Granted, leader Todd Rundgren kept busy in the interim, but it was an abnormally long time between records. As it turns out, the wait didn't matter, since Utopia delivered a record that was quintessentially 1980 — a shiny, buffed album every bit as pop as The Hermit of Mink Hollow, but considerably less introspective and altogether ready for action. It's a bid for the big seats, and Utopia, surprisingly, achieved their goals, as the record climbed into the Top 40 and spawned a hit single with "Set Me Free," a song sung by Kasim Sulton. That fact alone indicates that Adventures is the closest Utopia had yet come to its band ideal. It's no surprise that Todd Rundgren still dominates the proceedings, but his presence is not omnipresent, which is to the benefit of the album. Like its predecessor, Adventures is consistent but a little bland, but the shiny pop surfaces are more appealing than the arena rock bluster of Oops!, which makes the fact that it has about the same number of memorable songs — "You Make Me Crazy," "Second Nature," "Set Me Free," and "The Very Last Time" (again, all top-loaded) — not quite as noticeable. It keeps things moving as the record is playing, and if the album as a whole isn't entirely memorable, at least the half that does take hold still sounds as if it was state-of-the-art pop/rock for 1980.

Customer Reviews

Should be Adventures With Utopia

First off, Utopia never made a 100% solid album, probably due the eclectic material from all the members of the band songwriting. Adventures is no exception. This is probably their biggest sounding album, begging to be played in an arena of waiving lighters with anthems like Last Of The New Wave Riders and The Very Last Time. Then they throw in the radio friendly tunes like Set Me Free and You Make Me Crazy which appropriately are on the Anthology collection. There's the Queen-like ballad Love Alone with its multi-layered vocals with keyboard. The album shoots itself in the foot with the too simple disco track Second Nature and it's overdone counterpart Rock Love. Those two tracks are saved by the bold and truly adventurous Caravan which should be a standard radio classic rock track. A hodgepodge of an album, yet Rundgren holds it all together to make it one of Utopia's better albums.

Great CD from an often overlooked artist....

Utopia is a talented 70/80s AOR (Album Oriented Rock) band led by the genius of Todd Rundgren. My favorite songs are "Set Me Free," "The Very Last Time," and "Last of the New Wave Riders." This is good stuff people! Check won't regret it.

"The Very Last Time" is an AOR overlooked classic

This is a very good collection of New-wavish (Think The Cars) Pop-Rock, with key tracks being "The Road to Utopia", "You Make Me Crazy" and the number eight track-"The Very Last Time". If you're not really a Todd Rundgren fan, but like classic rock, give "The Very Last Time" a try. It isn't rocket science, just a very well constructed song for the rock airwaves, although I never actually heard it once! What a shame. "Caravan" is a nice stab at progressive rock


Formed: 1974 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Stardom was handed to him with Something/Anything?, but Todd Rundgren rejected it. He wanted to explore new musical territory instead, and his adventures led him to form Utopia in 1974. Initially, Utopia was a prog rock septet featuring three keyboardists, but as the '70s progressed, the group evolved into a shiny mainstream rock quartet, and Rundgren retreated into the background, as each of his bandmates contributed songs and lead vocals to the albums. By the early '80s, Utopia had developed into...
Full Bio
Adventures In Utopia, Utopia
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