RNLP 70870 Oops! Wrong Planet
Produced by Todd Rundgren
Released on September 1977
US CHART POSITION #73 . . . UK CHART POSITION #59
Find it at GEMM
RNLP 70870 cover  

T hough it followed close on the heels of Ra, Oops! Wrong Planet is a marked departure from their previous work, eschewing longer epics for short, sometimes noisy songs with layered harmonies and a certain amount of Beatlesque charm. With Todd Rundgren involved in writing most of the material, the result often feels like a Rundgren solo album from the same period (e.g., Hermit of Mink Hollow). Far from the spacey subject matter of their earlier work, Oops! is concerned primarily with social criticism: “Rape of the Young,” “Gangrene,” “Back on the Street.” Nothing on here is as heavy-handed as “Hiroshima,” but you’d have to look forward to Swing To The Right to find another Utopia album so cynical. As one would expect, any dozen songs from Todd (even when he cowrites them with the rest of the band) are bound to include some winners: the soulful ballad “Love Is The Answer,” the caged fury of “Trapped” and the energized “Love In Action” are all top-shelf Todd. True to the Utopian model, each member takes their turn at the microphone with better-than-expected results. Highlights from this side of the band include the pretty “Crazy Lady Blue” from Willie Wilcox (again suggesting shades of ELO), “The Martyr” featuring Kasim “Kaz” Sulton, and a funky turn from Roger Powell on “Abandon City.” Because little light shines into this album, some who prefer Rundgren in the role of spiritual optimist might want to opt out of Oops!, though the album is careful to close both sides on an upbeat note. It’s worth noting that this album marked a crossover from prog rock to edgier pop music, thus starting the second phase of Utopia’s career (Ra was something of a transition between the two). Fans of Todd/Utopia would do well to add this to their collection at some point, since there are a handful of moments (like the neat ending on “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”) that represent pop music at its most sublime.

RNLP 70870 back cover RNLP 70870 lyric sleeve
RNLP 70870 back cover RNLP 70870 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. TRAPPED    (Todd Rundgren)    3:06
  2. WINDOWS    (Roger Powell)    4:17
  3. LOVE IN ACTION    (Todd Rundgren)    3:26
  4. CRAZY LADY BLUE    (Todd Rundgren/John "Willie" Wilcox)    3:37
  5. BACK ON THE STREET    (Todd Rundgren)    4:09
  6. THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL    (Roger Powell/Todd Rundgren/Kasim Sulton)    4:33
  7. THE MARTYR    (Todd Rundgren/Kasim Sulton)    3:48
  8. ABANDON CITY    (Roger Powell/Todd Rundgren)    3:49
  9. GANGRENE    (Todd Rundgren/John "Willie" Wilcox)    3:36
  10. MY ANGEL    (Roger Powell/Todd Rundgren)    3:40
  11. RAPE OF THE YOUNG    (Todd Rundgren)    3:11
  12. LOVE IS THE ANSWER    (Todd Rundgren)    4:10

CREDITS

ROGER POWELL -- vocals, keyboards, trumpet, Powell Probe
TODD RUNDGREN -- vocals, guitar, saxophone, engineer
KASIM SULTON -- vocals, bass guitar
JOHN "WILLIE" WILCOX -- vocals, drums
Mike Young -- additional engineering
Utopia -- graphic concept
Ken Kneitel -- graphic execution
Fred Weiss -- graphic execution, photography

return to UTOPIA discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/CAN September 1977 Bearsville LP/CS BR 6970  
UK September 1977 Bearsville LP/CS K55517  
US July 7, 1988 Bearsville/Rhino LP/CD/CS RNLP 70870 lyric sleeve, direct metal mastering
US 1995 Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-637 original master recording
EEC   Essential CD ESMCD-758  

 

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