The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
Beserkley Records, August, 1976
Track Listing: 1. Roadrunner, 2. Astral Plane, 3. Old World, 4. Pablo Picasso, 5. I’m Straight, 6. Dignified and Old, 7. She Cracked, 8. Hospital, 9. Someone I Care About, 10. Girlfriend, 11. Modern World
“Tonight I’m all alone in my room”
-from “Astral Plane”
Anthems for assholes like you and me. The sloppy second sideline crew. The other guys: beatniks, lonely introverts, outsiders. Creative types, you say?
“Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not like you”
-from “Pablo Picasso”
This ditty goes out to all the drunks holding the phone in the middle of the night, facing off with answering machines and an aneurysm-overload of jumbled regret. The dance of indecision cripples action as the hours pass and the bottle empties.
“I called this number three times already today
But I, I got scared, I put
It back in place, I put my phone back in place
I still don’t know if I should have called up”
-from “I’m Straight”
To the sideline sitters who are forced to examine puzzle pieces, a tip: Mind batter is best mixed in DIY blenders that offer more immediate gratification. Start a band. Put pen to paper. Pick up a camera and shoot the possibilities. You never know. These days, in the YouTube new world, superhighways can lead to viral validation. There are certainly no shortage of ways to network and find what you are looking for. There is a communal clickety-clack-clack of frantic Facebook fingers. It is a global percussion offering status updates to any online friend who cares. Others can search elsewhere still, looking for connections with faceless torsos inside any number of cyber bathhouses.
“Well the modern world is not so bad
Not like the students say
In fact I’d be in heaven
If you’d share the modern world with me”
-from “Modern World”
A common thread through it all no matter the object of beauty is passion. Girlfriends, boyfriends, art, music, words, connection … all coming from the same well of desire. We are forever loyal to the objects of our passion. To friends and family, lovers, street corners, vendors, locales, museums, shops, theaters, hometowns—Boston, Chicago, New York, Albuquerque, San Pedro, Modesto—we are forever loyal to the people, places, and things that comprise that fixed longitude and latitude in the map of our hearts. For it is here that flames ignite and burn so hot they scorch psyches and brand lifetimes.
“I’m in love with Massachusetts
I’m in love with the radio on
It helps me from being alone late at night
It helps me from being lonely late at night
I don’t feel so bad now in the car
Don’t feel so alone, got the radio on
Like the roadrunner
But tonight, despite the possibilities, I’m alone. Yes, alone in my room, eating Sweet Mandy B’s Snickerdoodles. Sorry substitutes for you? Hell no! As consolation prizes go, these are wickedly delicious Chicago treats and besides, self-medicating with sugar does not require copays or pharmacies. And I don’t feel bad. Häagen-Dazs Heartache is a song played ‘round the world. A Twitter tweet concurs.
“I go to bakeries all day long
There’s a lack of sweetness in my life”
Tomorrow’s destination: The Art Institute. Free admission on Tuesdays means I don’t need to empty my pockets to watch happy couples or classmates on field trips discussing things I’m likely missing in the Stacks of Wheat (End of Day, Autumn). If you have any thoughts at all of coming, meet me at The Three Skulls. We can even walk over to the new Modern Wing.
“If I were to walk to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Well, first I’d go to the room where they keep the Cézanne
But if I had by my side a girlfriend
Then I could look through the paintings I could look right through them
Because I’d have found something that I understand
I understand a girlfriend”
Time’s almost up. An announcement rings out over the loudspeaker. I’m already out on Michigan Avenue or all the way up north, exiting Bryn Mawr on my way to Superdawg. Who am I kidding? I’m in bed peering out at the skylight moon that is full tonight. The room is quiet.
“My telephone never rings
She’d never call me”
-from “Dignified and Old”
Truth is, I wanted it this way. The moon never lets me down like you do, even when it sees my shirt and pants strewn lazily over the floor. Never asks me where I spent that five bucks or why I didn’t make the bed today, which by the way makes me feel perfectly alive and free (even if the messiness does remind me of your hair).
“I can’t stand what you do
Sometimes I can’t stand you
And it makes me think about me
That I’m involved with you
But I’m in love with this power that shows through in your eyes”
I soak in the moon bath, fully exposed in a transporter beam memory when A Tribute to Jack Johnson played and we rocketed through space and time. First thing I saw when I awoke was you looking back at me and I’ll admit: it was pretty cool. You were about to say something about a song you heard, a short story you read, or an idea for how we could spend the rest of the spring afternoon like modern day Holly Golightlys, trying on wigs or turning into petty shoplifting thieves—stealing experiences neither of us had ever managed to experience before, lovers adrift in the modern world.