Saturday, May 8

Live at the Long Branch Saloon continued (final)

The Lovers' subject matter is, naturally, love-- for the disintegrating city ("I know the modern world is bad, And it's getting worse I suppose every day, But that's where we belong today"), for their peers ("Don't die now, Someday we'll be dignified and old together"), for inaccessible girls. There is anger, too, in both the words and the music, but it is their transcendent agape that may ultimately make the Modern Lovers more than an interesting ripple on the New Wave. Though the band has real flash, Richman's persona is so narrowly eccentric that I found it a llittle boring once the novelty had worn off. At times, his anti-hip posture flirted with a dubious moralism; in a song about trying to win a girl away from her "hippy-skippy" boyfriend he declaimed peevishly, "If these guys are so great, Why can't they take the world and take it straight?" But there were other moments during the Lovers' act when I felt truly exalted, Toward the end of the set, they did a song about driving down the highway with the AM radio on. A familiar theme, of course, yet the treatment was intense enough to communicate that old sense of belonging to an eternal rock-and-roll community-- which is, after all, a drug we've been digging on for twenty years or so. As Jonathan cried "Got the power, got the magic," I remembered the first time I ever saw the Who, the night they sang "You are forgiven!"-- and I was.

Andrew Porter? from The New Yorker Aug 27 1973

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