Hermit of Mink Hollow
Released: May 1978
Chart Peak: #36
Weeks Charted: 26
Six years displaced in time, here is the follow-up to Something/Anything? Todd Rundgren's unalloyed pop craft motivates every moment of Hermit of Mink Hollow. While there are some concessions to modernity -- the synthesizers that thicken a few Phil Spector-like productions, a lavish use of the shivery suspended chords Rundgren's always loved (but that Steely Dan made commercial) -- Hermit of Mink Hollow's dozen songs all stem from the universal library of luminous pop enjoyment that this curious artist carries around in his head. They condense the whole world into a three-minute capsule and promise eternal youth. They know the rules so well that it's almost a joy to conform.
- Michael Bloom, Rolling Stone, 6/1/78.
It's been a while since anyone worked so hard to make such a bad album as this. Todd Rundgren apparently did everything: wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, dubbed all the voices, and, of course, did his customary plastic-coated Phil Spector number on the production. Some of the songs could be interesting if they weren't so overarranged. "Bread," for example, has Rundgren the writer completely undone by Rundgren the arranger. The overall effect is that of prolonged, vaguely melodic noise. It actually gives me a headache if I crank the machine up too loud. But that's not what bothers me most about it. What bothers me most is the idea that someone would go to such trouble to run off such a piece of junk. People have turned out albums almost as unpleasant with a tenth of the effort, which seems more in touch with the times, what with the energy shortage and all.
- Noel Coppage, Stereo Review, 8/78.
Rundgren not only produced this album, he also composed and arranged all the songs, plays all the instruments and does all the vocals. He divides the album into "the easy side" and "the difficult side," placing a couple hard rockers on the second side, and more melodic midtempo rock numbers on side one. The most clever and outrageous cut is "Onomatopoeia," an ode to about 60 words which sound like what they represent. Best cuts: "All The Children Sing," "Can We Still Be Friends," "Fade Away," "Hurting For You," "Bread."
- Billboard, 1978.
By the release of this album, Rundgren had ditched the homemade charm of Something/Anything? for a warbly hard rock/pop sound. Tracks like "Determination," "Out of Control," "You Cried Wolf," and "Fade Away" best exemplify that approach. "Can We Still Be Friends?" became a number 29 hit. * * * *
- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
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