Album #350 – The Modern Lovers

Album #350

The Modern Lovers’ self-titled first album was almost never released. Most of the album’s material was recorded in 1972 and produced by John Cale. But, due to a series of jumping to different record labels, frontman Jonathan Richman’s change in musical direction and the death of his good friend Gram Parsons, the album was shelved for four years. When it was finally released in 1976, the group’s keyboard player, Jerry Harrison, was in a different band (Talking Heads) and Richman had a new band and was touring. Despite all these mishaps, The Modern Lovers is one of THE best protopunk albums I have ever heard. I was moving and grooving to almost all this album’s tracks. Richman’s voice is not fancy. It is pure and simple. He is almost yelling at times to be heard over the music but, his voice still cuts through. It is unique and fits well with the songs. The songs are typical of protopunk: isolated loner who is angry at the world. The difference is all the name dropping Richman does in these songs. Boston is well represented on this album with mentions of the Stop N’ Shop, Fenway and so many more local landmarks. To me, the Boston scene was so crucial to punk, new wave and alternative music. Not only did the Modern Lovers embody that scene but so did The Cars, Pixies, Mission of Burma, ‘Til Tuesday, Breeders, Human Sexual Response and Buffalo Tom. All those bands started in Boston. There are many bands that I have forgotten but, Boston’s music scene has always been amazing. Radio got behind many of these bands and took them to new heights. Sadly, Boston does not have a terrestrial alternative music station who is willing to play bands like this anymore. Luckilly, Boston is the first major market to have two Internet-only radio stations that continue on this legacy.  Will this be the future? You’ll have to wait and see.  The Modern Lovers embodies what Boston rock is all about. Bare bones and lively. I can’t wait to own this album again, turn it up loud and rock out. Overall, I give The Modern Lovers, 5 out of 5.

Next: Station to Station by David Bowie!!!

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