“Rundgren played every instrument (as well as sang every part) on the first three sides of the double LP” (Wikipedia), while on the fourth side he “recorded with a full band including the Sales Brothers” (Erlewine). “Others had recorded one-man albums before Todd Rundgren, most notably Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, but with Something/Anything? he captured the homemade ambience of McCartney with the visionary feel of Music of My Mind, adding an encyclopedic knowledge of pop music from Gilbert & Sullivan through Jimi Hendrix, plus the crazed zeal of a pioneer” (Erlewine).
“Listening to Something/Anything? is a mind-altering trip in itself, no matter how many shamelessly accessible pop songs are scattered throughout the album, since each side of the double-record is a concept unto itself” (Erlewine). “In the liner notes, the first side of the album is described as ‘a bouquet of ear-catching melodies,’ the second as ‘the cerebral side,’ the third as ‘The kid gets heavy,’ and the fourth is titled ‘Baby Needs a New Pair of Snakeskin Boots (A Pop Operetta)’” (Wikipedia).
Over the four sides, the album “gallops through everything – Carole King tributes (I Saw the Light), classic ballads (Hello It’s Me [originally recorded by Rundgren’s band Nazz], It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference), Motown (Wolfman Jack), blinding power pop (Couldn’t I Just Tell You), psychedelic hard rock (Black Maria), pure weirdness (I Went to the Mirror), blue-eyed soul (Dust in the Wind), and scores of brilliant songs that don’t fall into any particular style (Cold Morning Light, It Takes Two to Tango)” (Erlewine).
“It’s an amazing journey that's remarkably unpretentious. Rundgren peppers his writing with self-aware, self-deprecating asides, indulging his bizarre sense of humor with gross-outs (Piss Aaron) and sheer quirkiness, such as an aural tour of the studio at the beginning of side two. There are a ton of loose ends throughout Something/Anything?, plenty of studio tricks, slight songs (but no filler), snippets of dialogue, and purposely botched beginnings, but all these throwaways simply add context – they’re what makes the album into a kaleidoscopic odyssey through the mind of an insanely gifted pop music obsessive” (Erlewine).