Media Condition: M
Sleeve Condition: M
Genre: Rock, Pop, Garage
Notes: Reissue on vinyl for the first time. Released in 2020. Unopened, unplayed.
If you like: Alex Chilton, The Clean, The Feelies, John Cale, and of course, The Modern Lovers, you’ll love this summer staple.
About: A singer and songwriter who has stubbornly (and joyfully) followed his muse in a career that began in the early ‘70s, Jonathan Richman started out as a primitive proto-punk bandleader under the influence of The Velvet Underground who would eventually mature into an acoustic balladeer, and who sang his spare, passionate tunes in Spanish as often as in English. In the middle, Richman was known for his purposefully naive music that reveled in a childlike love of the world around him, emphasized by a voice that was by turns craggy and adenoidal. While the initial lineup of Richman’s band The Modern Lovers (as documented on the album The Modern Lovers) would often be cited as a precursor to the first wave of punk, Richman would abandon their aggressive sound and, with his second run with a new Modern Lovers, would emphasize acoustic instruments and playful tunes like “Ice Cream Man” and “I'm a Little Aeroplane” on 1977’s Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers and 1979’s Back in Your Life. As he stepped out as a solo artist in the ‘80s, Richman’s music retained its simplicity, but he adopted the electric guitar and matured as a writer, producing idiosyncratic but smartly crafted sets of songs like 1983’s Jonathan Sings and 1989’s Jonathan Richman. 1994’s Jonathan, Te Vas a Emocionar! was the first of several albums where he would indulge his fascination with the Spanish language, and he experimented with polished pop production (courtesy of Ric Ocasek) on 1998’s I'm So Confused. In the 2000s, Richman’s songwriting became more explicitly poetic as he relied more on acoustic instrumentation, as on 2004’s Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love and 2008’s Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild. Richman continued exploring new musical avenues in the 2010s, experimenting with Latin sounds on 2016’s Ishkode! Ishkode! and ragas on 2018’s Sa, though his songs remained as sincere and open hearted as the day he first picked up a guitar.*via Mark Deming
A favorite track: I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar