Review Revue: Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers – Back in Your Life

What must it be like to be in the fourth decade of your career as an admired, critically-revered singer and songwriter, and still be best known for the first song on the first album you ever released? The Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner” is, without a doubt, a timeless rock and roll treasure, and one of the best things ever to come out of Massachusetts; Richman should be proud of it. But still, the man has released two dozen studio albums in the intervening years, and while I’m quite sure they’re filled with great songs, nothing on any of those albums has had the cultural resonance, the staying power of “Roadrunner.” That’s gotta be a little weird.

Still, there are worse things in the world than being a successful career musician, still cool in your 50s, and having a song in your catalog as timeless and memorable as “Roadrunner.”

And anyway, the people who matter – such as our friends at KCMU in the early ’80s — will continue to dig whatever he’s putting out, so I think all in all Mr. Richman is doing all right.

“How do you explain this? Ummmm . . . rockin’ folk-rock . . . it should appeal to the child in us all. Cleaverly (sic) cute subjects. c. 1979 (Orig. from Boston . . . later relocated to Berkeley . . . now?)

“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Super!!!”

“Great! This means I don’t have to bring my copy in any more — fantastic disc called by many the father of new wave!! PLAY IT!!”

“Calm down RR. I’ll play it, OK?”

“For once, the Rockin’ one & I agree.”

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One Comment

  1. Colin Williams
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    “Roadrunner” is rehashed Velvet Underground. It’s not unique. Richman’s work all sounds alike. The Modern Lovers first album is the best. IMHO nothing to see here folks, move on.

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