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Welcome back, folks, to another week of Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold! I want you to know that I am covering today’s song under great duress. It took me a while to get up the nerve to write about it. Even my cat tried to stop me.

Todd Rundgren – Hello It’s Me (download)

It’s not that I have anything against “Hello It’s Me.” (Actually, I have a lot against “Hello It’s Me” but we’ll explore that later.) It’s just that…remember that episode of The Simpsons where Bart becomes famous for uttering the catchphrase “I didn’t do it” on Krusty’s show? And so everywhere he goes, people want him to say “I didn’t do it?” Well, for a brief period, this blog got very Rundgren-centric. People started both discussing and requesting “Hello It’s Me.” Terje sent it to me first. Robert mentioned it in the comments. So did Elaine. Finally, Mike began subtly dropping hints in online conversations.

Mike: What’s on the plate for MG this week?
Jason: Well, I don’t know. I…
Mike: (Rundgren)
Jason: I was thinking maybe I should…
Mike: (Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuundgrennnnnnnnnnnn)
Jason: Yeah, but I also thought that…
Mike: (RUNDGREN!)

So there’s a lot of pressure riding on this one. But I’m going to try and get it over with. There you have it, Mike. I am officially your Rundgren Monkey. (Now that’s a band name.) Hope you’re happy.

“Hello It’s Me” is really not Mellow Gold from a musical standpoint (from a musical standpoint, it’s a Carole King ripoff), but lyrically, OH MY GOD. It easily ranks up there with some of the very, very wimpiest of the wimpy.

Men have, for years, been implored to really get in touch with their soulmates. No more of this sitting-on-the-couch-and-watching-the-game bullshit. “Communication is essential. Talk about your feelings.” Todd Rundgren almost singlehandedly flipped that entire movement on its ass. “Hello, It’s Me” is so rife with emotional rambling that Todd should be sending every penny he made on this song to the people who were forced to listen to it. Think of it as a therapist fee.

Shall we take a look at these emasculating, damn near embarrassing lyrics?

Hello it’s me
I’ve thought about us for a long, long time
Maybe I think too much but something’s wrong

Ahhh, a Mellow Gold benchmark: contemplating your inadequacies, right in front of the girl woman lady to whom you’re singing. Well done, sir Rundgren!

There’s something here that doesn’t last too long

Okay, this isn’t even close to proper English, is it? When I was five years old, I wrote a song that rhymed “moon” with “baboon.” I feel like even then, I had one up on Todd.

Maybe I shouldn’t think of you as mine

Okay, just in terms of rhyming patterns, is this supposed to rhyme with “time?” That seems to be the only thing I can come up with, but for some reason, I’m thinking this pattern sucks.

Wait, he’s got more to say.

Seeing you
Or seeing anything as much as I do you

Yup, that’s right. “Seeing anything as much as I do you.” It’s like they had a contest to try and write the most awkward lyric.

I take for granted that you’re always there
I take for granted that you just don’t care

Just when I thought this song couldn’t get any dumber, it gets dumberer. So what are we talking about here, Todd? What’s up with this relationship? The first line tells me that the problem is that you’re not happy. The second line implies it’s the other way around. Unless you mean that she just doesn’t care if you treat her horribly. Are you both unhappy? Is it because you wrote this song and she had to listen to it? And did you know that there’s now a third unhappy party? Hello, it’s me!

Sometimes I can’t help seeing all the way through

Sometimes you can’t help seeing WHAT all the way through? The relationship? This goddamn song? I’m pulling my hair out listening to you ramble!

Oh shit, here comes the chorus.

It’s important to me
That you know you are free

If it’s so important to you, why can’t you sing those lines, you big sissy? Admit it! You pussed out! You figured: she hasn’t been listening to anything else I’ve said, I might as well try getting someone else to help put the point across! They’re like little gnats, buzzing around our ears. Please, Todd. Kill them.

‘Cause I never want to make you change for me

And there you have it, folks: with that one final line of the chorus, Todd Rundgren officially threw his hat into the ring for the Wussiest Line Ever. Somewhere, England Dan felt his ears getting hot, and he knew he had a challenge on his hands.

Think of me
You know that I’d be with you if I could
I’ll come around to see you once in a while
Or if I ever need a reason to smile

I’ll freely admit that I can be a tad dense sometimes, so please, help me out here. Am I missing the meaning behind this song? I still don’t understand who’s breaking up with who here. Is he breaking up with her because he’s a jerk? Am I just a maroon for trying to figure this all out? Is this why nobody will talk to me anymore? Maybe I think too much but something’s wrong.

Anyway, if the song ended here, we’d know that Todd had was a first class Fogelberg, through and through. But then, suddenly, Todd’s penis interrupts.

And spend the night if you think I should

You gotta love it. You just gotta love it. The man can’t help but just throw that little hint in there. But he’s smart: he makes it look like it’s not his idea. No, no, no! It’s important to him that she knows she’s free! But, you know, if she thinks he should, well, then. “Okayyyy…I guess if I have to…” And you know what? Todd’s pretty smart. After hearing this song, I imagine the girl woman lady would have done just about anything to get him to shut up. Well, done, sir! Well done! Your cunning little plan worked!

And yet…there is something 100% irresistible about this song, isn’t there? Once it’s in my head, it’s in my head for hours, and I honestly don’t mind it. I find myself singing it aloud. I think it must have to do with the music: those beautiful, minor 7 and 9 chords, and that key-change near the end, which I have to admit is pretty kick-ass. Those keyboards. The trumpet. It’s not Mellow Gold in the slightest, but man, is it catchy. Still, though, I’m overpowered by the lyrics. It makes me feel like maybe Todd Rundgren shouldn’t have sung this song. It should have been sung by Woody Allen, or some other nebbish-y, accountant-type guy.

[audio:http://www.wwmmd.net/tunes/inline/helloitsnebbish.mp3]

It’s official: I’ve lost any trace of dignity I had left. By the way, this is the voice of the guy who does my taxes.


So what could be worse than listening to this incessant rambling (either me or Todd)? How about listening to a version so unbearably slow that Rundgren’s version is referred to as “the uptempo version?” I’m dead serious.

Nazz – Hello It’s Me (download)

Yes, this is the version Rundgren recorded with Nazz, his psychedelic garage band from the late ’60s. When it started, I was wondering if maybe I was playing it at the wrong speed. Enjoy…or don’t. Either way, it’s time for us to move on to some video!

Behold! RUNDGREN, IN ALL HIS NIPPLED GLORY! This video could also be subtitled Todd Makes It A Point To Touch Every Fucking Hand In The Audience. I imagine this entire crowd came down with the flu shortly after the show.

By the way, if you listen carefully to the studio version of “Hello It’s Me,” you may notice that Todd attempts to riff/scat on the vocal. It’s kind of a mess, but it’s back in the mix and relatively subtle. Around the 2:17 mark of this video (or 1:45 if the counter’s going backwards), Todd goes for some falsetto riffing and fails so miserably that he makes LeBon’s Live Aid fuckup look like a Pavarotti performance.

Well, there you have it. That’s as much as I can glean out of this one for the day. I’m sure you have many thoughts about this Mellow classic, and I can’t wait to hear them. In the meantime, I’m going to go back and listen to this song again. I kinda love it. See you next week for yet another Adventure!