Home Read Classic Album Review: Jonathan Richman | Action Packed: The Best of …

Classic Album Review: Jonathan Richman | Action Packed: The Best of …

The idiosyncratic artist shares some of his finest sides from the ’80s and ’90s.

328

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


The title is no lie; then again, it isn’t the whole truth either.

The new greatest-hit set Action Packed does indeed contain the best songs Jonathan Richman recorded … between 1987 and 1995, when he was on Americana label Rounder Records. In other words, it doesn’t have Roadrunner, Pablo Picasso, Here Come the Martian Martians or anything else he recorded during his early days with proto-punk outfit The Modern Lovers. Still, what you do get is pretty damn sweet: Circle I, a go-go surfadelic ode to a grocery store; Fender Stratocaster, a Buddy Hollyish love letter to the classic rock guitar; Reno, a garage-pop ditty about the biggest little town in the west; Monologue About Bermuda, his Calypso-folk tale of The Modern Lovers’ decline; and 18 other slices of the sunny, childlike folk-pop and retro-rock he devoted himself to during this era. It isn’t the only JoJo CD you need, but it’s probably one you shouldn’t do without.