Please note: This review is for the SACD reissue of "Something/Anything" issued by Analog Spot and mastered by Kevin Gray.
One of Todd Rundgren's best and most popular albums, "Something/Anything" also continued to demonstrate what a polymath Rundgren in music; Rundgren played on the album, wrote the material and produced the album (as well as engineering it). This collection has a number of highlights but it was the big hit "Hello It's Me" that brought Rundgren to the attention of AM radio listeners. The song was originally written and performed by Rundgren's band The Nazz but the re-recording by Rundgren went in a different direction highlighting the emotive power of the song as a more straight forward ballad.
The Analog Spark reissue sounds terrific. I have spent most of my time listening to the SACD layer but, from my investigation, the CD layer sounds equally as good. The reissue arguably betters the Mobile Fidelity version (which was the best sounding version out there in my opinion until this edition) with better depth, clarity and warmth. Mastering engineer Kevin Gray has taken a minimalist approach to the remastering of the album as he tries to remain true to the sound of the original stereo master tapes (which was the source as noted in the packaging). Gray applies a touch here and there of his ability to improve things for the SACD format but he, largely, presents the album with minimal fuss which is probably the better way to present this album.
How does the CD layer compare to the Mobile Fidelity--they are awfully darn close. The original Mofi sounded terrific (to my ears). I didn't notice any anomalies between the two but it is possible that there might be an occasional one that crops up as the master tape is 25 years older than the original Mobile Fidelity CD. As we know, tapes, just like anything can age and deteriorate compared to when they were new. Still, the improvement in analog to digital conversion is a strength in the reissue. Your mileage may vary of course--depending on your system you may or may not notice a big difference. I tend to believe that the differences are more subtle than, say, the original Rhino CD compared to the Mobile Fidelity re-master but for those with a terrific system, you may hear a nice difference in sound quality. I should also note that this is less expensive than the Mobile Fidelity purchased used as that edition has been pretty pricey in recent years.
The first disc holds the entire album on SACD while the CD layer holds sides 1 & 2 and the second disc (which is CD only) presents sides 3 & 4. As with the original release, we get the album in a cardboard gatefold sleeve with a lyric and credits insert. If you like the bigger booklet with the original Mobile Fidelity release, you may want to hang on to that as the print is really small on the fold out lyric sheet.
So the pros: excellent transfer and mastering highlight this set plus it is an SACD hybrid disc. Both layers from the limited time I have had to listen to them (keep in mind I've spent almost all of my time on the SACD) are outstanding. The packaging may be an issue for some--if you want a jewel box, you will be disappointed. If you want a cardboard replica of the original vinyl sleeve, you will be happy. The lyric sheet features small and difficult to read lyrics to my older eyes so you may want to keep your original booklet. Each SACD is packaged in a soft cloth like insert.
- Audio CD (1 January 2002)
- Original Release Date: 1 January 2002
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Audiobook, CD, Import, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
- Label: RHINO UK
- Run Time: 89 minutes
- ASIN: B0000032WL
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,391 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)