2007-05-30

There's Something About Jonathan

Most younger readers know of Jonathan Richman because of his appearance as the guy doing the musical interludes in the movie "There's Something About Mary". Most of his solo stuff is not too dissimilar from that - the words "naive" and "childlike" are often used to describe his playful lyrics and tunes. But before that he slept on the couch of the Velvet Underground's manager and worked with John Cale and had a bit more grit and backbeat to his sound. Listen to "Astral Plane" and the take on "Roadrunner" on the Original Modern Lovers LP and hear that screaming organ and manic energy and know there was a reason the Sex Pistols performed that song during soundchecks. "Roadrunner" actually went to #1 in the UK, ironic considering it's the best song ever written about cruising around in the car in suburban USA. But the first s/t Modern Lovers LP wasn't released for a while after it was recorded, and by the time the follow up arrived, more years had passed than people realized and his songs had that much more time to get... what's the word - nicer? This progressed throughout his solo career - although he plays almost 50's style rock-n-roll chords he doesn't really seem interested in rocking you anymore. The batch of songs here are certainly, well, nice. They may not rock, but they roll. They follow 1983's "Jonathan Sings!" which followed his several-year hiatus from playing, and also feature then-wife Gail accompanying him. They are classic, honest, timeless tunes that somehow seem like they should have always existed, yet it took Jonathan Richman to take a determined stand away from popular music trends to bring them to life. If you're not that familiar with Richman or the Modern Lovers, you need to add some to your collection, even if it's a greatest hits package - in twenty more years you'll be playing it more than anything else you buy this year. Check out Insound for the Jonathan Richman and Modern Lovers albums you need to be adding to your collection and check out Jojoblog for news and links and good stuff.


"The Beach" is especially nice and will hopefully appear on a few of y'all's own summer mixes! Much thanks to the taper of this show, DimeADozen user lolive, who recorded it for for Radio-Bellevue, and who has tons of other high-quality shows upped on Dime, search "Lyon Tapes" and if you don't have an account keep trying and if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the white BitTorrent how-to on the right sidebar.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jonathan is awesome, innocent and silly--I guess you either get him or you don't. Fortunately, I get him and I agree that his stuff is worth owning. Thanks for the live stuff, it is a good live recording.

Monkey Bastard said...

Dude, that was totally (.)(.)

Andy said...

Been looking for some Johnathan of this era. People who don't get JR....well....they don't know how to have fun and fool around. Many thanks.

Randi said...

Thanks so much for posting this, you made my day! Jonathan has a drawing quality that anyone can tap into. Anyone open to it, at least.

ACSial said...

Best J.R song ever: "chewing gum wrapper".

Adam C. Sieracki