Tuesday 2 October 2018

Jonathan Richman - SA

SA finds Jonathan back in Modern Lovers territory, playing with Jerry Harrison who also co-produces the album.

The Fading of an Old World revisits that era’s Old World. When in 1972 Jonathan still loved the 50s and the old world he looked to the future, concluding “bye bye old world we’ve got to help the new world”. Not much has changed in 2018 - he still “doesn’t want to go back to the old fading world”.

SA is an album that in part is an older man looking back. Ten years ago Jonathan contemplated his mother’s death on As My Mother Lay Lying. He’s now thinking about his own mortality on And Do No Other Thing, where he insists he must “follow the heart and have no other religion” to a chorus of handclaps.

Despite the no religion statement, Jonathan explains that the titular SA is the “root note in Indian ragas [that] Ramakrishna, the much beloved mystic, told his spiritual students to search for underneath all things of this world." The eight-minute raga of O Mind! Just Dance! isn’t exactly That Summer Feeling.

There really is no suppressing Jonathan’s eccentricities. Not least on Yes, Take Me Home - a song from the viewpoint of a dog, which is surely a follow up to Our Dog Is Getting Older Now.

But Jonathan’s sheer joy can never be hidden for long. Alegre Soy - that’s I’m Joyful in Spanish - is pure old style JoJo pop.

And Do No Other Thing had better not be his epitaph. On the evidence of SA, his best record since, and at least equal to, 2008’s Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild, he's got plenty of fragility, introspection and baffled wonderment to offer yet.

The CD is out now. A vinyl release follows next year.

1 comment: