Music is the soundtrack to our lives. And on Christmas Day 2012, four days after the world was supposed to end, GuysNation columnist Bryan Lienesch was given the book ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’. As he flipped through it, an idea dawned on him right then and there: he would attempt to knock all 1,001 albums off his list. Not just before he dies, but as fast as life would allow.

This is the Bucket Beats List.

Photo courtesy The Guardian

Photo courtesy The Guardian

Rundgren represents the first artist on this list that is not immediately recognized in the mainstream of pop culture, a little detail that seems all too fitting for this album.

After spurring a public feud with John Lennon, Rundgren in a lot of ways became the anti-Beatles, the representation of quality music laid out by a talented singer/songwriter without the hordes of adoring fans. In that aspect, he was (and is) a hipster’s wet dream.

You can see how we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot already.

Todd Rundgren A Wizard A True StarSome will call Rundgren’s ‘A Wizard, A True Star’ a beautiful work of music. So deep, you don’t actually know how deep it goes. Don’t listen to them. It’s as vague and meaningless as its title.

Don’t get me wrong, there is salvageable material. The track ‘Zen Archer’ is terrific. ‘When The Shit Hits The Fan’? Pretty good. And ‘Just One Victory’? Yeah, it’s alright.

But these ear-savers are spread throughout a 19-track incoherent LSD trip. Some “songs” are just over a minute while others are four or five. Some tracks transition flawlessly while others might as well have a brick wall between them.

Quite frankly, I’ve heard compilation discs that span multiple genres that go together then Rundgren’s 1973 album.

It all makes short, convulsing, musical vomit, filled with only enough talent to save it from being compared to other orifices in the body.

Again, the audiophiles out there will tell you that such analysis is overly simplistic, that ‘A Wizard, A True Star’ is living, breathing art that can change interpretations every time you listen to it. That explanation makes even less sense than the track ‘Dogfight Giggle’, and if you’ve heard it you know what I’m talking about.

Not only do you not need to listen to this album before you die, it might save you some time. Look for the real songs, the honest-to-goodness hard work that is spread throughout the album. They’ll be easy to find because they tend to be the longer tracks.

All in all, there are about four or five of them that are worth listening to. Go ahead and listen to those if you’d like, but skip everything else as I’m pretty sure it might be hidden government propaganda that Rundgren agreed to put out following the Oil Crisis.

How’s that for an interpretation, hipsters?

Favorite Tracks?
3. When The Shit Hits The Fan/Sunset Blvd.
2. Is It My Name?
1. Zen Archer

Least Favorite Tracks?
3. Never Never Land
2. Medley: I’m So Proud/Ooh Baby Baby/La La Means I Love You/I Saw The Light
1. Dogfight Giggle

Do you really need to listen to this album before you die?
Nope.