Spun: Todd Rundgren

By Ken Clarke

For the past four decades, legendary musician and multimedia wizard Todd Rundgen has delivered an impressive series of cutting-edge projects. Never one to rest on his laurels, Rundgren has once again defied all expectations and released Arena, a strongly guitar-oriented, hard-hitting recording based on stadium-style rock.

As per usual, all the tracks are written and produced by Rundgren who sings all of the vocals and plays all of the instruments, with abundant killer guitar. However, unlike most of his recordings which can be epic in length, Arena clocks in at a mere 57 minutes with all 13 songs having one word titles.

The opening track and single “Mad,” sets the pace for most of the album with scorching guitar and lyrics, revealing to also be a battleground for Rundgren to vent his frustrations on current events. “This is more than upset, it’s as enraged as I get,” he screams. “And you ain’t seen me mad yet and now I’m mad.”

Songs like “Mercenary” and “Gun” are more specific and even heavier sounding. “Strike” is a nod to stadium veterans AC/DC with Rundgren daring his audience, “Are you ready to rumble? Are you just gonna grumble? Time to strike while the iron is hot.” “Pissin” slows things down temporarily, featuring sitar-sounding guitar and infectious vocal harmonies as only Rundgren can sing. “Mountaintop” fits the stadium theme most of all with catchy hooks and the irresistible “higher, higher,” chorus.

Arena reveals Rundgren to be at the top of his game and is yet another successful addition to his musical legacy.

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