PB 6029 Oblivion
Produced by Todd Rundgren and Utopia
Released on 1984
US CHART POSITION #74
Find it at GEMM
PB 6029 cover  

B oth Utopia and Todd Rundgren were beginning to lose relevance in the ‘80s, coyly keeping one foot in the pop camp and another in the new wave scene. Oblivion marked the beginning of the end for Utopia, relegated to yet another minor label (Passport) that struggled to get the word out. Although half of the material here would compare favorably to their last two records, it’s a shortage of good ideas that ultimately defines the album. The opening “Itch In My Brain” is very catchy, but Utopia played this card already with “Hammer In My Heart.” Likewise, it’s an old formula at work on the ballads “Maybe I Could Change,” “If I Didn’t Try” and “I Will Wait.” The energetic rockers are a shade better, with “Too Much Water” and “Crybaby” wisely selected to represent this album for Trivia. Medium-tempo, quirky tunes like “Love With A Thinker” and “Winston Smith Takes It On The Jaw” round out this tepid affair. While fans who enjoyed Swing To The Right and their eponymous followup from 1982 will find Oblivion reassuringly familiar, the lack of inspiration might be mildly alarming. It’s pretty much a given that any Rundgren/Utopia album will deliver at least one good ballad plus some catchy, quirky, playful pop tunes. That Oblivion doesn’t deliver more is why some critics have panned it. Honestly, only Utopia’s first album, Trivia, and Redux ’92 get fewer spins on my stereo than this album. If you must own it (and I’m not recommending you don’t), buy Oblivion after you’ve picked up everything from Another Live to their last record, Utopia; otherwise, you’re cheating yourself. Note that this appears to have gone out of print in the ‘80s, but I’m sure there are plenty of folks who’d be willing to sell you their copy.

PB 6029 back cover
PB 6029 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. ITCH IN MY BRAIN    4:30
  2. LOVE WITH A THINKER    3:15
  3. BRING ME MY LONGBOW    3:18
  4. IF I DIDN'T TRY    4:10
  5. TOO MUCH WATER    4:47
  6. MAYBE I COULD CHANGE    4:08
  7. CRYBABY    4:19
  8. WELCOME TO MY REVOLUTION    5:01
  9. WINSTON SMITH TAKES IT ON THE JAW    3:17
  10. I WILL WAIT    4:43

    All songs written by Utopia

CREDITS

ROGER POWELL --
TODD RUNDGREN -- engineer, mixing
KASIM SULTON --
WILLIE WILCOX --
Utopia -- engineer
John Wagman -- album design
Rob G. Hansen -- back cover photograph

return to UTOPIA discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US January? 1984 Pasport LP/CD/CS PB/PBCD/PBC 6029 tactile cover
UK/GER April? 1984 WEA LP/CD/CS 250 685  
CAN 1984 Passport LP PL 5026 tactile cover

 

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