Jonathan Richman and his band the Modern Lovers were a real anomaly in the early 1970s. Like many singer-songwriters of the era, Richman wrote very sensitive lyrics that wore his heart on his sleeve. But those lyrics were backed with some uncommonly abrasive music for the period (supplied by future Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison and future Cars member David Robinson). In addition, Richman’s songs decried drugs and promiscuity at a time when no one had even thought of the term “straight edge,” let alone thought it was cool. When you add his unfashionably short hair and nasally vocals into the mix, he seemed like the guy who was begging for noogies and wedgies.
But despite his “uncool for the time” demeanor, Richman was as ballsy as Iggy Pop and Lou Reed (two artists Richman admired) and like Pop and Reed, seemed to invite abuse by his mere presence. “Someone I Care About” is Richman’s declaration about wanting a girl that he cares about, or he wants nothing at all. A marked contrast to many bands of the era promising to give women every inch of their love or wanting their women hot, sweet, and sticky. Richman may not be cool in the classic rock sense, but the perspective is refreshing and a lot more sane. Produced by John Cale of the Velvet Underground.
I thoroughly agree that Richman is a badass in his own right. I also get a kick out of the nerdy, square “I’m Straight,” in which he’s jealous of “Hippie Johnny” cuz Johnny’s a pot-smoking slacker. By the way, that particular song is not a good choice to play in public (at least in San Francisco) due to the oft shouted title.
Reblogged this on EARGGH!.
Yep, he was a true original alright, and his voice at times was more crooner than punk almost. Maybe makes it more punk. This one has a very Stooges and Velvets sound. You can tell he´s a big fan. I didn´t realise Cale produced it though. Cheers for sharing that.