There's no denying that Fountains of Wayne know how to craft a great pop record. They know how to write a hook, they can pull of mild rockers and sweet ballads with equal aplomb, and they write melodies that feel like half-forgotten favorites. They have all the elements of a classic power pop band but they suffer from that peculiar '90s ailment – detachment. For all their flair, talent, and craftsmanship, the band don't really dig deeper than the surface. Of course, that doesn't mean they make bad records, and their second album, Utopia Parkway, is, if anything, every bit as good as their fine debut. All the songs immediately make a connection and all of their melodic attributes simply strengthen with repeated listens. However, those repeated listens reveal that Fountains of Wayne don't have a lot to say. That's not a cardinal sin in guitar pop, since most bands simply recycle the same lovelorn themes, but Fountains choose to have fun with clichés, throwing in goofy asides even in their ballads.
Utopia - Oblivion (1983). Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a newly remastered edition of the classic 1983 album 'Oblivion' by Utopia. The album saw Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Roger Powell & Willie Wilcox strike out on their own, funding the recording themselves and in the process producing an album of startling originality. Featuring such classic tracks as 'Itch In My Brain', 'Cry Baby' ,'Lovewith a Thinker' and 'Winston Smith Takes It On The Jaw', 'Oblivion' was one of Utopia's finest later albums…
Out of all the releases issued thus far in the Todd Rundgren/Utopia Official Bootleg series, it turns out that Vol. 5 – Oops! Wrong Planet Tour – is one of the most "bootleg sounding" of the bunch, as it's less than stellar audio quality suggests it is an audience recording. Despite not possessing as clear a sound as the other volumes (which appear to be mostly soundboard recordings), Oops! Wrong Planet Tour does a good job of capturing the group during one of the most transitional periods of its career. Beginning the year (1977) as a prog rock band (RA) and ending it as a new wave-ish arena rock outfit (Oops! Wrong Planet), both sides of the group are showcased on this double-disc set, while a generous helping of solo Rundgren material is included as well, given a Utopia makeover.
It is a more song-driven, and less conceptual work than many others in Zappa's oeuvre. The album is named after a 1950s song, written by Donald and Doris Woods, which Zappa covers as part of "The Man from Utopia Meets Mary Lou". The sleeve art features the work of RanXerox artist Tanino Liberatore. It portrays Zappa on stage trying to kill mosquitos. The back cover shows the audience as seen from the stage. Chaos prevails, and the cover is meant to show the events at a disastrous concert in Palermo, Italy, July 14, 1982. At that concert, fans kept trying to rush the stage, and the local security force began firing tear-gas canisters into the crowd.