Jonathan Richman is one of the most enigmatic American performers of the rock 'n' roll era, both in spite of and because of his devotion to simplicity. Even when Richman was bashing out three-minute proto-punk with the Modern Lovers, there was a naiveté to his work that would only grow as he moved toward a softer, acoustic sound through his post-Lovers years. Of course, his penchant for simple subject matters and straightforward melodies often belies the subtle complexity of his craft, which aims to highlight the constant concerns of the human condition.
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Now embracing a multitude of languages in his perfectly realized pop, Richman also extends his reach into darker territory, somehow bringing truth and wisdom to difficult subjects while still managing to add an inflection of innocence.