Jonathan Richman

Not So Much to be Loved as to Love (Sanctuary Records)

Jonathan Richman has always been like that geeky, art-loving, shy, witty, multilingual, politically active teacher you have a crush on. Or he's been like the only person who really understands how you feel and puts it into pop songs. Either way, Not So Much to be Loved as to Love will satisfy. With his voice and guitar complemented by bass and sparse drums plus occasional smatterings of trumpet, accordion and a chorus of backup singers, Richman hits the hits: unrequited love (the title track), requited but unexpected love ("My Baby Love Love Loves Me"), art ("Vincent van Gogh" and "Salvador Dali"), whimsy ("He Gave Us the Wine to Taste It"), plus several songs in French and Italian and the political plea "Abu Jamal," about support for the Philadelphia journalist convicted of killing a police officer. Not So Much is a diverse album--from almost whispered lullabies to an ass-shaking Italian scorcher--but it never seems inconsistent or thrown together. It's just Jonathan Richman and all his quirks.

 
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