Archive for Swing to the Right

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Utopia

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2015 by 80smetalman


First, happy Thanksgiving to all! I know it’s a North American holiday but I still celebrate it every year despite living in the UK for nearly 30 years. British friends who have celebrated it with me, quickly see why I do. That’s why I wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving. My children love it so I have had three Thanksgiving dinners over the past week and a half and partly why I haven’t posted in over a week.

Now onto the self titled album from Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. I have only recently listened to this album. Back in early 1983, I read a negative review of it where it said that the other members of Utopia pull Todd down. I’ve never agreed with that and after listening to “Utopia,” I still don’t agree with it. Now, for the bad news, even though it doesn’t support the idea of Todd’s talents being wasted by joining up with the other members of the band, the album is still a few noticeable levels below their 1980 epic, “Adventures in Utopia.” The good news, though, is that it is better than their previous “Swing to the Right” album. Another point of history is that long time bassist, Kasmir Soulton, left during the composing of the album to pursue a solo career. I may visit this album.

“Utopia” opens with the best track on the album, “Libertine.” With the possible exception of “Hammer in My Heart,” it is probably the hardest rock song on it. When I first heard the opener, I thought that maybe the band was back to the glory days of “Adventures in Utopia.” Unfortunately, the album does tend to go more keyboard oriented and while this doesn’t destroy the album, it doesn’t make it great. I was not impressed by “Bad Little Actress” but “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” was rather amusing. Unfortunately, the next few songs sound pretty much the same. At least until you get to the more harder, “Hammer in My Heart.” That song takes things back up a little and “Burn Three Times” was even more amusing than “Feet.” On the first few notes of the closer, “There Goes My Inspiration,” I thought the album was going to go out on a total high. However, it soon drags a little making it and adequate closer and that’s is basically my verdict on “Utopia-” adequate.

Track Listing:

  1. Libertine
  2. Bad Little Actress
  3. Feet Don’t Fail Me Now
  4. Neck On Up
  5. Say Yeah
  6. Call It What You Will
  7. I’m Looking at You But I’m Talking to Myself
  8. Hammer in My Heart
  9. Burn Three Times
  10. There Goes My Inspiration


Todd Rundgren- guitar, vocals

Roger Hammond- keyboards, synthesizers, vocals

Doug Howard- bass

John Willie Wilcox- drums

Like I said, “Utopia” is an adequate album from Utopia. There are some good points on it that outweigh the blandness. As for the question of Todd Rundgren wasting his talents with the band, I can add further light to this when I visit Todd’s 1983 solo album later on down the line.

Next post: Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band- The Distance

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: Utopia- Swing To The Right

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2015 by 80smetalman


Back in 1982 or there about, I remember reading a review on a Utopia album, not sure if it was this one or their next one, where the reviewer stated that Todd Rundgren was being pulled down by the rest of the band. I never agreed with that statement because I have always thought that Powell, Sulton and Wilcox were all talented musicians and song writers in their own right. For me, this was purely the case with their 1980 album “Adventures in Utopia,” although that is their best album.

Let me say straightaway that “Swing to the Right” is not quite as good as the 1980 classic but it’s not that bad. They do venture away from the more hard/progressive rock sound of the classic and adopt a more new wave approach. For the most part it works and even before U2 made it popular in 1983, the album is full of political lyrics aimed at corporations, religion and war mongers. My impression was that it’s a dig at the Regan administration which embraced all of the things that Utopia were having a go at. It is also the reason why Bearsville Records were reluctant to release the album at first.

The opening title track is the most progressive rock like song on the album and it boasts an excellent guitar solo from Rundgren. “Lysistrata” is also a good track and the swing to the more new wave sound definitely begins here. “Junk Rock” goes even more new wave and is a dig at synth pop which was rapidly gaining a foothold in the early 80s. “Shinola” does go back to a more progressive sound and Rundgren’s vocals remind me of some of his 1970s solo albums. The next few tracks are all what I have already spoken about, lyrics about political issues played to a new wave sound. For the most part, I like it and the standout track from these is “Last Dollar On Earth.” The closer, “One World” goes a little ways back to the more known Utopia sound and that ends the album rather nicely.

Track Listing:

1. Swing to the Right

2. Lysistrata

3. The Up

4. Junk Rock

5. Shinola

6. For the Love of Money

7. Last Dollar On Earth

8. Farenheit 451

9. Only Human

10. One World



Todd Rundgren- guitar, vocals

Roger Powell- keyboards, synthesizer, vocals

Kasmir Sulton- bass, vocals, keyboards

John ‘Willie’ Wilcox- drums

Todd Rundgren deserves to be in the Rock Hall of Fame both as an artist and a producer. It’s an act a sacrilege that he isn’t. The argument that his playing with Utopia demeans his talents is totally rejected by me and many others. It could be said that he should be there a third time with Utopia because they have made some good albums over the years. “Swing to the Right” is one of them.

Next post: Survivor- Eye of the Tiger

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London