Among the most conspicuous symptons of pop genius (poor hygiene, odd sexual proclivities), surely the most common is eclecticism. From Prince to Paul Simon, the will to explore far-flung musical territory goes hand in hand with the gift of song. Todd Rundgren, a member of the pop-genius club since 1972's Something/Anything?, is no exception, and his new disc is eclectic to the point of dissolution.
Jerk is a brittle, rave-ready drum-and-bass excursion while Buffalo Grass sounds like a mid-'80s Utopia outtake. Rundgren covers two of his own chestnuts as well: Bang the Drum All Day (a live novelty version) and Love of the Common Man (a bossa nova leftover from 1997's With a Twist). From the ambient cross-fades of Mary and the Holy Ghost to the Middle-Eastern twang of The Surf Talks, One Long Year seems determined to baffle. Only Where Does the Time Go qualifies as classic uptempo Rundgren. The album's rewards are slim, and it's hard to imagine even the most fervent fan liking all of this.
..caption for the Property video era Rundgren photo reads: Todd Rundgren: One Long Year not enough