10 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

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