To use his own words, Todd Rundgren was indeed a wizard, a true star. He's had only a couple of genuine hits ("Hello It's Me," "I Saw the Light"), but that's little indication of the depth of his career as pop showman (his dozen-plus solo albums), art rocker (leader of the group Utopia
), producer (Meat Loaf, the Psychedelic Furs, Patti Smith, the New York Dolls, Grand Funk, Hall & Oates, Cheap Trick), and pop futurist (an early innovator of sound and video). In the showman category, Rundgren hit a peak with Something/Anything?,
as pure an exposition of pop songcraft as perhaps has ever been made. On the first three of the album's four sides, Rundgren writes, plays, and produces everything himself, including "I Saw the Light," "Couldn't I Just Tell You," and "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference"; on the fourth, he and a host of guest stars proffer a funky if somewhat adolescently minded "pop operetta" that actually deserves the term. Included there is "Hello It's Me," jazzy horns, soulful vocals and all. a still-touching slice of romantic ambivalence. This record is really only for those with a sense of humor and a great love of timeless pop rock -- and for them it's a necessity.