Wednesday, October 04, 2006:

Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

Pablo Picasso and Oja Kodar
[Pablo Picasso and a girl who never called him an asshole.]

The Modern Lovers -- Pablo Picasso
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers -- The Bank Teller
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers -- Affection
I looked for Orson Welles' F for Fake for about five years before finding it. Gainesville is a smallish place, and Criterion did the world a service re-releasing the film last year. The film is a documentary about an art forger and his biographer, who himself begins forging documents. The film has stuck with me, not just because of the surprise ending but also because of the basic questions of expertise, reliability, trust, and sincerity. It's thoughtful and thought-provoking work, presented accessibly--yet its method is avant-garde (thanks for pointing that out, Girish!)--and it's only now occurring to me how much my last post owes to it.

Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers is not the same band as The Modern Lovers, though they do have the same Jonathan Richman. The Modern Lovers were a rock&roll/punk band and lasted from late 1970 to late 1973; after they broke up, Jonathan Richman continued recording with a different band under the same name.

Lyrically, Richman is a goofy geeky fellow with the occasional spark of nastiness. "Pablo Picasso" probably serves as a good example:

Well the girls would turn the color of avocado
When he would drive down their street in his El Dorado

Funny, right--cheesy? Then:

He could walk down your street
And girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not like you

Is this a commiserating "Not like you"? No; the delivery makes that clear; it appends a mental "you asshole." It still doesn't fill out the meter, but meter isn't Richman's forte anyway.

"The New Teller" is an ode to the new bank teller, with handclaps, a rockin' country solo, and more cheesy rhymes ("teller" and "tell her", "There's only three in the other line / but in mine I count eleven / well, that's fine 'cause I'm in Heaven").

And then "Affection" is a simple, somber look back at Richman's earlier days, pointing out that being a snob makes you unhappy and that people need to risk pain for love. You could fault Richman for his sincerity and cheesiness, and plenty of people do, but I'm not one of them....

I posted The Modern Lovers last year as part of the jogging mix, but I find that the longer I post the less I'm concerned about if I've posted someone before. I doubt that that is Sturgeon's Law coming into play; if anything it's more a reflection of how much awesome music I still haven't heard.
[The Modern Lovers]
[Back in Your Life]
[Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers]

"It was a hot day when the horse came in and I was shocked at first because I have never run a pub before."

Sock puppets invade LJ. I was eager to see The Science of Sleep, but the studio falling back on sockpuppetry, astroturfing, and asshattery to promote it tells me that it's maybe not so very good after all.... Or maybe they just don't know how to market it (though God knows why that would be the case, with Michel Gondry, Gael García Bernal, and an arthouse theme).

Tone Memory, from which I deduce that I do not have perfect pitch, or possibly even any pitch at all.

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Affection is one of my top ten all time songs. Ever.

"fault him for hs sincerity" LOL

Like many of the great artists of our time, he makes a living out of stating the obvious. And every now and again great artists come up with something that helps us to realise that it is obvious. Obviously.

Unless you wanna be a snob about it ...

I hope he makes a living ...

Do not forget David Bowie's recent cover of Pablo Picasso. I find it irresistable. The production is much richer,and I find Bowie's vocal interpretation spot on.

"F For Fake" was used as an introduction to a class I took last year, called Dialogues with the Void.. Great stuff.

Thanks, everyone.

Doorkeeper: I hope he's getting along okay. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with stating the obvious, and sometimes it could stand to happen sooner than it does. In any case no, I didn't want to be a snob about it. ;-)

Anon #1: I haven't heard Bowie's cover. Bowie is one of those characters I keep checking out and not really "getting." I'll look into that one, though, on the strength of the recommendation.

Anon #2: That class sounds intriguing; I'd love to hear more about it.

Beautiful! Thanx mushly.

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