Sunday, August 7, 2011
There's Something About Jonathan....
Jonathan Richman is what might be termed an acquired taste. Fortunately I acquired the taste a few years back and still retain it to this day.
The Modern Lovers album is often cited as being the "bridge between the Velvet Underground and the Ramones" and that's not too far off the mark. The album is a thrilling slice of rock and roll, informed by equal parts suburban-kid anxiety and three-chord (or less) cool. The Modern Lovers' eponymous debut was actually recorded in the early 1970s,though officially it wasn't released until 1976 and contains the greatest two chord song in rock history in the classic Roadrunner.
He was not the first geeky, awkward outsider to become a rock star, but he was one of the first to flaunt it so openly. In addition to Richman's obvious influence on punk, his whimsy, silliness, and geekiness is apparent in Talking Heads, They Might Be Giants, Weezer, Fountains of Wayne and many, many others.
The album is about the joys, the pains and the trials of a young man who wants to find a place for himself in the modern world, fantasizing about getting the unobtainable girl, or wanting for things to be the way they used to be and should be required listening for anyone interested in historically important albums in the evolution of rock n' roll.
The Modern Lovers - Pablo Picasso
The Modern Lovers - Girlfriend