...This is rock and roll, no matter what music history books will tell us. What, you can't write a rock n' roll song about how much you love New England? Or dedicate a rock song to an insect? Or base one around the idea that when Martians come to earth, the first thing we need to ask them is what flavor of ice cream they like the most? The vision of life on Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers is as unconventional, within the contexts of rock music, popular music in general, art, and life, as those of beloved eccentrics like Syd Barrett and Captain Beefheart - and it's just as subversive and rebellious, perhaps even more so. Not just because of the creative stories and images, not just because the songs are about topics more typical of kids' fables than rock anthems, or for that matter even because they brilliantly subvert the very notion of 'adulthood and 'childhood'...but because of how much closer to honest, raw emotions they get that most rock songs. Even unbridled rock songs that shatter societal conventions and spit in the face of authority seldom feel as real or as unique as these songs, which in their own way stand even stronger against convention. Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers embraces nonconformists (what's more punk than an abominable snowman disrupting a supermarket?) and encourages all listeners to bare their hearts, speak their minds, and engage themselves with the world. This is music that breaks down barriers between audience and listener, that says 'forget what you've been told is important in life, here's what's important to us' in a bold and unforgettable way.
-- dave heaton
read the whole thing at erasing clouds