My review of "The Individualist"

Review by Jeff Baker (Switch to

I must admit "The Individualist" took some time to grow on me. I think a large part of that was that I've always felt the first two songs on this CD ("Tables Will Turn" and "If Not Now, When") are two of Todd's most boring, uncompelling songs..They still go in one ear and out the other to this day. However, the remainder of the album has revealed itself to me over time.

"Family Values". The incessant keyboard line that begins the song (which I describe as 'hypnosis on speed') had me hooked the first time I heard a midi of it on TR Connection. The keyboard part during the verse sections seems like it's a cousin to the piano figure of "Johnny Carson" on the "Beach Boys Love You" album. I find the chorus to be nowhere near as engaging as everything else on the track.

"Espresso" is like the brother of "Too Much Water" on the Oblivion album and is the most lively and irresistable track on the album. The opening synth part has the same emotional/inner-being impact as Todd's guitar chords on the intro of "Too Much Water" but with a more shimmering 'aura' to it.

The title track of The Individualist is a fun little romp with a playful 'shit eating grin' strut. It seems EVERYTHING on this track has a 'shit eating grin'....that adorable little 'tune' that begins the track, the strutting/skipping-along drum programming, the stretchy 'gum on the bottom of your shoe' bass line that goes along with it, Todd's vocal delivery (which includes a brief 'salute' to Frank Zappa on the 'artist formerly known as tr-i' be exact it's a nod to Frank's "Joe's Garage" album), the faux 'vibraphone and horns' dance band ALL puts a smile on my face. During the last two minutes, Todd's multitracked harmonies suddenly go up in register into his normal singing tone and it puts tingles up and down my spine it's so strategically placed...I'm a sucker for those layered Todd harmonies.

"Ultimate Crime" had potential but I think it tends to 'drift' melodically. Some intriguing piano chords but there's (comparative) large gaps between them where the piano chords just boringly 'drift' like Todd's vocal does on this song. I don't dislike this track but it does leave me wanting.

"Cast The First Stone" is one of Todd's best 'angry songs'. The force of this one can get my heart pumping with force. Todd's forceful vocal and the 'angry' clanging sound that accompanies the snare sound of the drum programming really makes me feel the emotion. Right up there with 'Welcome To My Revolution" and "Public Servant".

"Beloved Infidel" is one of my favorite Todd 'atmospheric mood pieces'. Very meditative and spacy. Kind of like if you combined "Healing Pt. 1", "Time Stood Still", some of Todd's "Undercover" soundtrack pieces, and Foreignor's "I Want To Know What Love Is"..put them in a blender and...voila.."Beloved Infidel". the last two songs, "Temporary Sanity" and "Woman's World" are the most melodically pleasing.

"Temporary Sanity" to me has the most gripping chorus on the whole album. At first the verse section suggests it's not going to be much more compelling than "Tables Are Turning" but it's just a ploy for the one-two punch of that chorus.

"Woman's World" has the 'rocker' attitude and excitement that "If Now Now, When" only tries to have. Very musically vibrant way to end this album. It's the great Utopia song that never was.

I've grown to play this album more frequently.


I still think that this is Todd's least intriguing album when it comes to the melody of his vocals (LEAD vocals....this definitely does not apply to the background/harmony vocal tracks) and I think there should've been more high-end on the drum machines. They can seem a little muffled ('cakey') for my sonic I just simply can't get grabbed by "Tables Will Turn" and "If Now Now, When". Other than that, there's a lot for me to enjoy on here.

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