AALP/BRK 3666 Swing To The Right
Produced by Todd Rundgren and Utopia
Released on March 1982
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
AALP/BRK 3666 cover  

A pparently Healing wasn’t, and Utopia came out swinging on Swing To The Right. This is their nastiest, most cynical record since Oops! Wrong Planet, taking aim at Reagan-era America with all the smartass satisfaction you’d expect from the new wave of know-it-alls. Twisting their pop songs into brutal, discordant pieces like “Last Dollar On Earth,” “The Up” and “Junk Rock” illuminates the melodies in blacklight. Far from the overly cute approach of Deface The Music, Swing is the scariest album in the Utopia collection. But underneath all the standoffish screaming and cutting-edge cacophony are some remarkably catchy tunes, which is the record’s real appeal. Who else could turn totalitarianism into an infectious dance parody like “Fahrenheit 451” or paint mankind as a bunch of monkeys and still make it a barrelful of fun? If you said Frank Zappa, give yourself a star. Utopia has often slipped into Zappa’s camp at night, stealing some of the avant jazz noisiness and overcaffeinated arrangements found on Frank’s mid ‘70s work. Swing to the Right will attract the same sort of listeners who don’t mind climbing up sometimes inscrutable passages for the vein of musical gold concealed therein. And the melodies wrapped in “Shinola,” “The Up” and a radical rework of “For The Love of Money” are worth the effort. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Todd Rundgren affair without some lump-in-the-throat love songs, and the anti-war “Lysistrata” is worth the album price alone (“Only Human” is also very good, but out of place on this album). The record closes on the upbeat (and optimistic) “One World,” which tones down the electronic onslaught for an acoustic Tom Petty/John Cougar vibe. It’s not enough to dispel the negative energy that accumulates over the course of the album, but the song’s minty simplicity removes some of the bad taste. Me, I’ll ride along with energy (negative or otherwise) where I find it, and Swing To The Right has provided plenty of good rides over the years.

AALP/BRK 3666 back cover
AALP/BRK 3666 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. SWING TO THE RIGHT    4:20
  2. LYSISTRATA    2:42
  3. THE UP    4:07
  4. JUNK ROCK (MILLION MONKEYS)    3:17
  5. SHINOLA    5:17
  6. FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY    (Kenneth Gamble/Leon A. Huff/Anthony Jackson)    3:41
  7. LAST DOLLAR ON EARTH    4:11
  8. FAHRENHEIT 451    2:47
  9. ONLY HUMAN    5:09
  10. ONE WORLD    3:24

    All songs written by Utopia unless noted

CREDITS

ROGER POWELL --
TODD RUNDGREN -- engineer
KASIM SULTON --
WILLIE WILCOX --
Chris Andersen -- engineer
The Creative Directors, Inc. -- album design and production
Walt Behnke -- cover
John Wagman -- art direction
Lisa Amowitz -- design
Geoffrey Thomas -- tinting
UPI, The Bettman Archive -- photo credits

return to UTOPIA discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US March 1982 Bearsville LP/CS BRK 3666  
UK March 1982 Avatar/Bearsville LP/CS AALP/BRK 3666  
NET 1982 Bearsville LP 204 523  
US   Rhino LP/CD/CS RNLP 70875  
EEC   Essential CD ESMCD 759 digital remaster
JPN 1998 Bearsville CD VICP-60277 digital remaster, picture sleeve

 

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