Skip to content

The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers

The Modern Lovers Jonathan Richman

The Modern Lovers

(1976), 9.5/10
An album that failed to set the charts alight but proved extremely influential, The Modern Lovers was mostly recorded in 1972, well before the punk and new wave it influenced; ‘Roadrunner’ was a favourite rehearsal track for the early Sex Pistols. John Cale is the producer, and there’s an obvious trace of the Velvet Underground in The Modern Lovers’ sound, with the raw guitar work and lyrical honesty. But while Lou Reed oozed New York decadence, Richman is his young and awkward suburban cousin, finding meaning in the small details. Richman’s simple but effective guitar is joined by two new wave luminaries; future Talking Head Jerry Harrison on tinny organ and future Car David Robinson on drums. While the finished product is raw and loose, it’s also extremely accessible; Richman’s full of interesting stories and great hooks and vocal melodies, and any open-minded music fan should adore this record.

The closest things to standards on The Modern Lovers are the opening ‘Road Runner’, a two chord rumination on the joys of driving which Richman wrote while still a teen, and the relatively nasty ‘Pablo Picasso’, with the classic rhyme “Pablo Picasso/Never got called an asshole/Not like you.” Elsewhere, it’s all solid and all quotable; the hilariously overwrought ‘I’m Straight’ (“I’m certainly not stoned, like Hippie Johnny/I’m straight and I want to take his place”), the strangely touching ‘Dignified and Old’ and the sexual frustration of ‘Astral Plane’. Despite being cobbled together from various sessions, the twelve track CD version, released in 1989 on Rhino, hangs together perfectly and its unique sense of personality, its solid musical foundations and its huge historical importance are tangible immediately.

Even if Richman’s subsequent career has been erratic, his debut is an effortless classic; a summation of an awkward suburban adolescent embracing innocence in the face of a cynical world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Mike and Paul's Music Blog

Two Guys In Search of Great Music

The Doesn't Suck

9,000 billion recordings are released on the internet each month. Roughly 5 of them will not suck.

Simone: By The River

Hey! I'm writing about travel, books, nature, music, art, food, gardening, things that inspire me, with a little bit of creative writing thrown in for good luck (if I'm feeling brave enough). Australian (Geelong, Victoria). Instagram: sima78 & trackrecordsrecords

Brendon's Beats

Album Reviews & Music Discussion

The Rockin' Chair

A place for music and books

Debbie's Song

If you can listen to it, read it, watch it, wear it, love it...I'm interested in it

Zach's Music Reviews

The Occasional Music Review

Going for a Song

An autobiography in lays and ditties

%d bloggers like this: