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Check Out ‘Deaf Ears,’ Todd Rundgren’s Collaboration With Trent Reznor

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Todd Rundgren’s upcoming record, White Knight, finds him collaborating with a wide variety of artists. One of the songs, “Deaf Ears,” was made with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails, and you can watch the video for it above.

Rundgren premiered the song at NPR, where he spoke with Bob Boilen about how it came to be. “I’ve done a little bit of work with Trent Reznor before,” he said, “so when I decided that I was going to do a collaborative record, he was high on my list of people to get involved. And he was terrific. He sent me essentially an entire album’s worth of ideas. I couldn’t decide at first, so I picked out two tunes, and he sent me all the multi-tracks to those. So I added vocals and a couple of other little flourishes, but otherwise, it was mostly what Trent and his partner Atticus Ross sent me.”

For the lyrics, Rundgren went with an environmental theme, a topic close to Reznor and Ross, who wrote “A Minute to Breathe” for Before the Flood, a Leonardo DiCaprio-narrated documentary about climate change. “It’s a depressing time, so sometimes depressing times call for confrontational material,” Rundgren continued. “Facing up to reality is a pain. And it does have a contemporary element, especially as the EPA has been taken over by disbelievers. The principal theme for me of ‘Deaf Ears’ is, of course, the destruction we’re doing to our own habitat.”

White Knight arrives on May 12. In addition to Reznor and Ross, Rundgren wrote songs with Robyn, Donald Fagen and Joe Satriani and many more.

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