Todd Rundgren & Rivers Cuomo Made A Ska Song Together
The veteran studio-pop wizard Todd Rundgren has a lot of wacky ideas. Historically speaking, he has usually been able to pull those ideas off. I don’t know about this one, though. Rundgren is getting ready to release a new album called Space Force. One track features Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, and it’s a damn ska song. As in: A full-on big, bright, horns-blasting late-’90s ska song. Someone does fake-Jamaican toasting on it! There’s a slide whistle! Rivers Cuomo somehow made it through the entire Reel Big Fish era without ever making a ska song, and here he is on this thing! It’s wild.
Rundgren’s Facebook page notes that Rundgren and Cuomo wrote the song together, and both of them sing on it. (I think that’s Rundgren with the fake patois, but it could be Cuomo with his voice pitch-shifted down.) Rundgren and Weezer have overlapped a couple of times before. In 2017, Weezer were the musical guests on a Tonight Show episode where Rundgren sat in with the Roots. Last year, Rundgren covered Weezer’s “Hash Pipe” during a SiriusXM session. “Down With The Ship” has a political bent; Rundgren says, “It’s just a little parable about what happens when you align yourself with a treacherous leader.” Frankly, none of this makes it any less baffling.
“Down With The Ship” is the second advance single from Space Force; the first, “Espionage,” is a collaboration with the rapper Narcy. On Rundgren’s last album, 2017’s White Knight, he worked with Robyn on one song and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on another. I wonder if he tried to get them to make ska with him, too. Listen to “Down With The Ship” below.
Space Force doesn’t yet have a release date.