Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers

Back in Your Life

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Sweet, fun, and honest aptly describe this 1979 long-player by Jonathan Richman. And while some singers badly fumble at being innocently possessed, Richman keeps it all engaging with his unbridled enthusiasm, wit, and crack songs. This was Richman's first solo venture since forming the Modern Lovers in the early '70s, and the newfound freedom shows on loose doo wop rockers like "Party in the Woods Tonight" and such Sesame Street-issue nature odes as "Buzz Buzz Buzz"; the breezy tone is further plied on surf-toned instrumental "Lover Please" and a harmony and handclapping-rich "Lydia." But it's not all passing fancy, as Richman also waxes sincere and lonely on strong, yet often hushed sides like "Affection," "Emaline," and the title track, his terminally congested vocals and jangly guitar chords perfectly echoing the wistful sentiment. Recent Modern Lovers graduates: start here.

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