How badly do we need Jonathan Richman now? After Election 2008, I was ready to say, "Not as much as before," given that the government (at least) no longer promulgated that eight-year Dominant Paradigm of scorched-earth intolerance.
Then, a shooting in Arizona. Then localized fascism in Wisconsin. And we've got folks, smart ones even, telling us we're getting lonelier in our interconnectedness, a poisoning plaintive as a castaway guzzling salt water at sea.
So, my answer to the question above is no longer "Not as much as before," and not yet "More than ever." But, “As much as we ever did.”
Jonathan is not Jesus, but he gives us the Golden Rule. He reminds us that we are social animals, that we must seek love and covet the warmth of others. He acknowledges the imperfections and the pain — the Moon shines out at night, and Moon takes on both death and fear, which get wrapped up in Richman's passion but do not overwhelm it. They enrich it.
Simplicity and directness mark Moon's instrumentation and themes. If you want to leave the party, it's cool. Just don't play passive-aggressive. Love, be loved, gather. Your body is part of you. Don't neglect your wholeness.
Like Jesus, Jonathan would like to make himself obsolete. Like Jesus, he probably won't live to see that. He gets to live much longer than Jesus, though, and his message isn't adulterated by posthumous filthy fingers. He'll keep on doing until he can't, or until we get it right.
- Album: O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth
- Artist: Jonathan Richman
- Label: Vapor Records
- Songs: (1) O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth (2) These Bodies that Came to Cavort (3) If You Want to Leave Our Party Just Go (4) I Was the One She Came For (5) Sa Voix M'Attise (6) We'll Be the Noise, We'll Be the Scandal (7) The Sea Was Calling Me Home (8) Winter Afternoon by B.U. in Boston (9) The Bitter Herb (10) Sa Voix M'Attsie (reprise) (11) My Affected Accent (12) Even Though I Know I Am the Wind and the Sun, I (13) The Sea Was Calling Me Home (reprise) (14) It Was Time for Me to Be with Her