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Thursday, September 4, 2008

GMVW # 36: "Raw Emotion"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 35:  Raw Emotion
Song:  Everyday Clothes by Jonathan Richman
(Songwriter: Jonathan Richman)
September 4, 2008


I’ve been asked on occasion what live act I’ve seen the most.  My response is always the Who and Neil Young…. and then I remember Jonathan Richman.  How could I forget Jonathan?  In fact, Jonathan Richman is the only musician I’ve seen in 3 different countries (and 2 languages).  As is evident at his shows, Jonathan appeals to all walks of life.  His act can be best defined as captivating, hypnotic, and uplifting.  When Jonathan is on his game, either everyone is joining in or you can hear a pin drop.  There's not much in between.  He’s a performer I would recommend to anyone.

Gem Music Video of the Week, ‘Everyday Clothes’, shows Jonathan on his game, playing on the Conan O'Brien show (who is a big fan).  The crowd is stone silent until Jonathan gets them to join in half way thru the song.  He has the end-of-song, guitar-as-a-drum dance going.  He’s captivating the crowd with the honesty of his lyrics.  He’s narrating in between the lines (and mentions himself in the 1st person at one point, which he often does).

Finally, he’s got the wide eyed nod going in this video.  If there is anything that sticks with me from a Jonathan show, it’s his wide eyed nods to the crowd.  Often it seems as if he’s staring right at you when he does it. The meaning of the nods generally fall into one of 3 categories:

> You know what I mean
> Heed my warning
> What I’m saying is indisputable

Jonathan Richman is a native New Englander and has often referenced New England locales in his songs (as he does in this week Gem).  However, Jonathan has an international feel to his music.  There’s a Spanish flamenco influence, a punk roots feel, a Velvet Underground inspiration, and in this song, he’s got the Venice gondola thing going. 

I’ve done my best to explain his act, but nothing’s like seeing it (a cd purchase does not do his shows justice).  So, I’ll stop here and let Jonathan Richman and the video do the talking.

-              Pete

Gem Music Video: Everyday Clothes

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About the video: Shot live on the Conan O’Brien show

Video Rating: 1 (a big, fat 1)

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Best Feedback: Ruth

Good one, Pete!  Thanks for giving me a little fun in between my work tonight!

Ruth

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Also: Amy “yeah, yeah, yeah!”

and Jen “That was great”

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