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I, Jonathan

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iTunes Review

Willfully naïve or uncannily enlightened? Jonathan Richman can seem like both simultaneously. On 1992’s I, Jonathan, he exercises his Peter Pan-like ability to rise above the concerns of the mundane world with wide-eyed delight. Assembling a loose but thoroughly rockin’ combo of friends, Richman digs into some of his best tunes in years. His familiar trademarks are all here: the sometimes wobbly but painfully sincere vocals, the crisply-strummed guitars, the familiar ‘60s-rooted rhythms. What makes this album stand out is the sharpened wit and snappiness of songs like “You Can’t Talk To The Dude,” “I Was Dancing In the Lesbian Bar” and “Velvet Underground” (the latter a tribute to his favorite band). Richman’s childlike veneer disguises a profound quest for transcendence, something he finds both in backyard bashes (“Parties In The U.S.A.”) and lonesome cityscapes (“Twilight In Boston”). Really, he’s an unreconstructed pop traditionalist, as he shows in “A Higher Power” and his revision of “That Summer Feeling,” a poignant invocation of lost innocence. The power of surf-rock is invoked in the instrumental “Grunion Run.” Deliberately lo-fi and small-scale, I, Jonathan showcases Richman’s eternally youthful artistry with particular verve and charm.

Customer Reviews

An all-time CLASSIC!

I saw this wonderful album had only 2 stars, for being "too silly". Yes, Jonathan's music is silly, but that's what makes us love him. His doe-eyed innocence is what makes him so endearing. This is one of his finest solo records, and is one of the best records of the 90s. Jonathan is a unique voice in music, there's no one quite like him, if you like your music fun, and want to get in touch with your inner child, by all means, get "I, Jonathan"!

Sticky Music

This album has 3 -4 songs that automatically stick in your head after one listen. You'll be doing something really important, maybe working or doing a home fix-it project and suddenly a few bars of music will work their way into your brain, and the next thing you know you'll be singing about ' dancing in the lesbian bar...' or 'you can't talk to the dude...' and everyone around you will give you strange looks, but you don't care. Buy this album as a gift to yourself, and then go see Jo Jo live.


Mr.Richman delivers here a feel-good record for all ages. He sings with the innocence of childhood, and also the pain of life experience. He combines these elements into a beautiful album, far underrated by the listening public. You get the feeling of original rock n' roll purity, like Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elvis, etc.., modern funkiness, humor and intimate conversational goodness. He's a great story teller and he welcomes everyone around the campfire for the ride. Here is a man that most people would love to call friend.


Born: May 15, 1951 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jonathan Richman was one of rock's most eccentric and unpredictable cult figures, a performer whose eternally childlike public persona and seeming naiveté -- typified by songs like "Ice Cream Man," "Hey There Little Insect" and "I'm a Little Aeroplane" -- tended to obscure the dexterity and craft of his music, which skirted from garage rock to country to Latin stylings and back. Born May 15, 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts, Richman began playing guitar at the age of 15, and within a year was making...
Full Bio