The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (1976)
Unbelievable USA logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming
Here’s another post that’s been sitting in ‘Draft’ mode for months, this one since February 2016.
Though I remember why this one never made it to ‘publish’ mode: at the time of writing, I was in the UK stop of this year’s musical World Tour. I was all set to publish when I realized, oops, these guys are American, the post will have to wait!
Fortuitously, this unintentional gap between production date & release date fits nicely with my feelings about the record.
I’ll pretend it was a strategic delay in posting, rather than my incorrectly thinking this US band originally hailed from the UK!
When there’s a sizeable gap between production date and release date, I reckon there are only two possible outcomes: the product is either off-the-charts amazing or awful.
From the world of film, I remember reading about an Eddie Murphy vehicle named 1000 Words, filmed in 2008 and eventually released in 2012. I haven’t seen it, but it appears critics needed much fewer than 1000 words to express their disgust with the movie!
Conversely from the world of music, Neil Young’s Tonight the Night spent 2 years on the shelf before its eventual release. There are probably some reviews that awarded the album less than 5 stars, but there aren’t many of them.
So is/are The Modern Lovers more like Eddie or Neil?
While they share a 4-year delay between recording & release with Eddie, the results are much closer to Neil.
Though it sounds nothing like Tonight’s the Night, the music is similarly straightforward and the wandering vocals are positively imperfect.
Ever since I relinquished control of the car stereo to my daughters, I find I’m drawn to this sort of flawed record.
My eldest adores the radio. Although I quite enjoy hearing her sing along (and I’m astonished at her ability to remember lyrics), I find most of the modern radio love songs are too precise, too perfect for my tastes.
My youngest prefers Sesame Street, which may be a little less produced, but even Elmo’s harmonies are spot on!
So perhaps The Modern Lovers isn’t/aren’t all that great, it merely benefits from its role as an antidote to the popular/PBS soundtrack of my typical day.
Or perhaps, it’s the flubbed notes, the back-to-basics feel, that make(s) The Modern Lovers atypical. And therefore all that great.