Why is The Modern Lovers on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
I’m in love with rock and roll and I’ll be out all night.
Some stats & info about The Modern Lovers
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock, Rock Music, Boston Bands, Proto-Punk, New Wave, Art Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #288
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was The Modern Lovers released? 1976
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #727 out of 1,000
The Modern Lovers on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does The Modern Lovers mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
There’s something about The Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner” that feels timeless to me. I thought about why that is, and funnily enough I recognized that while it’s not on the official film soundtrack, the song plays during the classic campus comedy, PCU, from 1994. While I’d wager that most people won’t make that connection some… decades later, more broadly it feels like the ultimate college party song, a fantastic party song or road trip song. It just has a youthful freedom about it that’s propulsive and undeniable.
And on a slightly more musical level, it’s an incredible proto-punk song. Like much of the material on The Modern Lovers, it feels heavily influenced by The Velvet Underground and The Doors and points to so much of the music that was just about to emerge around that time in terms of punk rock, new wave, art rock, indie rock, and other musical forms. But best of all it’s all of that while being its own thing. And it’s also kind of scruffy and loose and doesn’t seem to take itself overly seriously.
There’s something particularly Doors-y (and throw in a little Ramones flavor, too, I suppose) about “Astral Plane,” with its swinging organ and Jonathan Richman’s vocals. So it’s probably no shocker right there that I’m very much digging it.
“Pablo Picasso” leans into The Modern Lovers’ Velvet Underground-influenced art rock sensibilities and is funny in an oddball way at the same time. Check out the song to find out why.
And then “Government Center” is much more in a new wave song, in a way that I find highly pleasing.
And you can see future generations of bands who inject some level of irony and/or comedy into their songs – ranging from DEVO to Weezer to Tenacious D – digging on lyrics such as these:
Well we’ve got alot alot alot of hard work today
We gotta rock at the government center
Make the secretaries feel better
When they put those stamps on the letters