“Can We Still Be Friends?” by Todd Rundgren (1978)

This song is perfect.

Perfect melody, perfect vocal performance, perfect background vocals, perfect tempo, perfect mix of melancholy and hopefulness in the lyrics. Todd Rundgren is a weirdo, and his music is all over the place, but “Can We Still Be Friends?” is in the pantheon of the greatest songs of all time. Hard to believe sometimes that this is from the same guy who wrote “I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on de drums all day.”

Thank you, Mandy Moore, for introducing me to “Can We Still Be Friends?” I remember receiving a promo copy of her Coverage album when I was working as a buyer for AltiTunes (the record stores that used to be inside airports). Not being much of a Mandy fan but intrigued by the covers concept, I discovered not only that I dug Mandy Moore but that she had excellent taste in covers. Through her I also discovered XTC, went into a deep dive on Joan Armatrading and more. Talk about unlikely musical sherpas. Almost makes up for the fact that I’ll never see a Ryan Adams/Dawes double bill because of her.

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