When Queen’s second album arrived in 1974, it was unlike anything the world had ever heard, unless you’d heard the first one, which very few had. And Queen II was even more of all that — the full metal raunch of Led Zeppelin, the camp 19th Century operatics of Gilbert and Sullivan, the heartfelt harmonic longing of the Beach Boys, the brash pop adventuring of the Beatles, and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, and glam, and prog. And it worked. And if you were fourteen, fifteen years old, still getting by on five or ten bucks allowance a week – what better album to to buy than the one that had EVERYTHING! In the case of March Of The Black Queen, it was all in the one song.
The genius of Todd Rundgren is that he can do anything – pop, soul, rock, prog, abstract avant whatever. The worst thing about Todd Rundgren is that’s exactly what he does way too often — anything and everything all at the same time, and it all just ends up getting in the way of itself. But not so the title track of Healing (which takes up all of side two). It’s 1981 and drum machines and synths and sequencers are the cool new toys of the moment, and, genius that he is, Todd knows exactly how to play with them, to genuine therapeutic effect.
First of two in a row from side five of Sandinista, the Clash’s largest album if not its best. London Calling gets all the glory, of course, but there is a serious argument to be made that Sandinista is every bit its equal if only for all the tangents it explores – dubs, re-dubs, versions, visions. As if these four guys (and their various studio compadres) somehow managed to digest the whole weird, wild, primed-to-explode world of 1980 and jam it into six long playing sides of vinyl – not world music so much as what the world actually sounded like. Must be a clash – there’s no alternative.