2. The Modern Lovers The Modern Lovers

(Beserkley, 1976)

On their sole studio LP from 1976, Massachusetts’ The Modern Lovers bled all their youthful exuberance and longing into an exceptionally strong set of nine rock songs.

Greatly inspired by The Velvet Underground (and mostly produced by one time Velvets member John Cale) the album opens with the yearning, escape to the highway anthem ‘Roadrunner’ and simply rocks until its final note.

Frontman and undisputed leader of the band Jonathan Richman slurs his words in typical teenage fashion, but ends up chronicling perfectly the dreams and desires of many American youths.

The songs – many of which are laced with a haunting organ sound – are uniformly strong, but the witty chronicle on the pitfalls of dating (‘Pablo Picasso’) and ¬†heartfelt paeans to the 1950s (‘Old World)’ and the USA (‘Modern World’) stand out.

Despite its slower, more affecting numbers such as ‘Hospital’, the album is now widely cited by critics as an early example of proto-punk. What is certain though is that The Modern Lovers is a must for any youth travelling the long open American highways for the first time.

Try also: The Modern Lovers The Original Modern Lovers (Mohawk, 1981).