Having a Party With Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman may sound like a geek, but that doesn’t mean he is one. On Having a Party, the latest in a series of unassuming albums this cult icon has been releasing since the mid-’70s, Richman still sings in the adenoidal voice of the president of the high school chemistry club, and the low-rent production — mostly just Richman and his electric guitar — makes the album sound as if it were recorded at the local talent show. Yet despite a few throwaway ditties, Party is one of his most clear-eyed and least coy records. It’s chock-full of simplistic — but not simpleminded — songs about puzzling relationships (”She Doesn’t Laugh at My Jokes”), the little things in life (”At Night,” about the joys of staying up late), and hating cappuccino bars and inviting friends over to his ”swingin’ pad.” At 40, Richman may be rock’s oldest living child, but as long as he keeps writing love songs with lines like ”She don’t act like no bad breakfast cereal/Waitin’ to wilt in the milk!” he can throw as many parties as he wants. B

Having a Party With Jonathan Richman
  • Music