Friday, November 19

Oh Moon, Oh Jonathan ...

Oh Jonathan, Prince Of Dorkness On Earth, why is this new album so short (36’), with two reprises of songs already on the album?

One might argue that they sound different, yes like take #1 is different from take #13. I have nothing against including more than one take of a song but look, the Stooges when they released the outtakes of Funhouse covered 6 CDs. We had hours of Iggy to listen to. Why is the spelling of the title of the French song faulty, when you sing rather fluently in French and have enough friends in France who could have helped you on that matter ? “sa voix m’Atisse” is just not meaning anything in French, (just like I did a misspelling in my first sentence where I meant to write Darkness). Did you really mean to involve Matisse the painter in this ? I don’t think so, because in the bi-lingual reprise you translate it by “her voice Stirs me up”, which would translate in “ sa voix m’attise”. A very nice poetic song by the way which, without prejudice from my side, is higher grade than the Italian one (“We’ll be the noise, we’ll be the scandal”, no kidding ! you’re too kind to be the scandal). Don’t take me wrong I like this mini album (without the reprises it lasts 32 minutes), and my two obvious first choices are “My affected accent” and “The sea was calling me home (Reprise)”.

As usually you are very skilled in the building up of your compositions and here it is operating like magic. “My affected accent” starts with chords and singing which reminded me of “Nineteen in Naples”, but just when I felt uncomfortable figuring out you were recycling old recipes came the bridge to another shore. The song evolves in that, oh so regretted by me, old Modern Lovers style,

Pic by Chester Simpson 1980

grooving rythms, let it go spirit and witty lyrics (“ I had a fake professorial rolling O, O, O, I talked about things I didn’t knOOw").

The other song sounds like your new way which Chimaerandi wrote so accurately about. The cello backing up on the reprise of “The sea was calling me home” is a brilliant idea to pull this sad song to the Velvet Underground dark playground . It is the song which I have programmed on replay.

Melancholy and disillusionment look like the main inspiration of many beautiful songs here, “Even though I know I am the wind and the sun”, “Bitter herb”. A song like “If you want to leave our party, just go” would never had been so gloomy ten years ago, and it really moved me. The production on “Winter afternoon by B.U. in Boston” does not do justice to that nostalgic Bostonian song, the metronomic drums are far too much in the forefront and cover Jonathan guitar playing and singing, another take could have been included to extend the length of this EP. Unpredictable Jonathan, thanks for these new songs.


  1. Oh Jonathan, Prince Of Dorkness On Earth <--- that makes you my new favorite person.

    Jonathan's short albums are a source of CONSTANT FRUSTRATION in my life. I have no clue why they always have to be so short. It's like I'm always getting sips of water, but nobody will give me a big glass to actually quench my thirst. Okay, that might be a touch dramatic, but my point stands.

    I don't know how much I dig the really dark stuff. I listen to a lot of that with other artists, and Jonathan is sort my escape from all that, and is part of the reason I liked listening to him in the first place. It's not that I begrudge him the right to sing about whatever he pleases, I just really love the fun, sweet songs that he does so often in concert, but seems to think are not worthy of album space. Which I think is a mistake.

  2. Thanx for the kronikle, Jacques (even if I don't understand the word dorkness).
    I still didn't find the album here, it's supposed to be issued in France on Dec 7th.
    I still have a lot of love or Jonathan but I must admit that none of his albums since the fantastic HMNOHHAES makes me feel like "a little airplane".

  3. I think that JR needs to try something different next time. His recent albums are all structured the same way. A few French-Spanish language songs,a few reprises and a cover of an older song. This gives his albums a stop and start feel to them. A few great songs and then a reprise or intsrumental slows down the pace. O Moon is not my favorite JR album by a longshot.There are some great songs but in my opinion just as much filler. JR needs to stop bulking up his albums with reprises etc. Many of these songs sound like bits and pieces to me. I thought that Because Her Beauty was superb. Even with the reprises on Becuase Her Beauty and the redoing of older songs etc it still sounded more substantial than O Moon does.

  4. Finally been listening to Jonathan newest album.

    The four first songs are killers, "These Bodies That Came To Cavort" has reminiscing of "Lesbian Bar" and I think that "If You Want To Leave Our Party Just Go" is obviously inspired by one of our man Jojo fave "Hang On Sloopy" (or it's variations) and brings back to less gravity but always poetic songs from his 70’s era songs. And "I Was The One She Came For" could be an outtake of "Her Mystery NOHHAES" fantabuleux (sic !) album.

    Then some songs, like "Sa Voix M’Atisse" (sic ! again : Jacques, I really hope that Jojo is refering to Matisse) seems to have been inspired by "the dork side of the moon" (to quote Jacques).

    There are some other great songs, like "The Sea Was Calling Me Home", but this one seems to have been shortened, just like "Cellphone" single.

    Anyway, if it’s not (by far) my fave album, I still hear in "O Moon, Queen Of Night On Earth" the humour, humanity, tear jerking songs, from a down to earth artist that I’ll love forever.

  5. I didn't mention above that even though I feel that O Moon is not JR's best album like all of his albums I will be listening to it as much as I listen to his other stuff. Her Mystery has the same feel to me that O Moon does.

  6. Sure, it's a good album. Jojo is in great (vocal) form. It looks like a minor album with a relaxed feeling but after each listening, it becomes slightly stronger. I'm french, so "Sa voix m'atisse" is full of reference to the Painter Matisse and his paintings, and there's a kind of double-meaning word pun in the mispelling of "m'atisse", meaning "m'attise" in french, a kind of "put the fire on me (sorry, my english is very bad, so i tell it quite literally)" or "stir me". Jonhatan is a heavy fan of painting (Vermeer, Van Gogh...) and he is referring to the "Fauvism" movement in which Matisse was. "Fauvism" means "Fauve / wild animal / tiger, lion and so on". It was used in a quite ironic way by critics in the beginning of the 20th century, after the impressionnism, because those painters were using very strongs colors, red, yellow, blue, without using any white and black, to soften them. Quite meditteranean ! This song is full of gentle humour, very close in a certain way, to the spirit of the french singer Charles Trenet.

  7. Im digging the organ on We'll Be the Noise, We'll Be the Scandal. I also like The Bitter Herb: could almost go on "Jonathan Sings" or "Rockin and Romance" (that's a good thing, since those are my two favorites). My Affected Accent is - lyrically and thematically at least - a Jojo classic.

  8. Jacques, have you ever heard of puns? If so, do you think they're restricted to English? Do you really think that you can't make a pun in French?