Search - Jonathan Richman :: You Must Ask the Heart

You Must Ask the Heart
Jonathan Richman
You Must Ask the Heart
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Jonathan Richman deserves his due as a great pop cultural hero simply for being the original postmodern songwriter--and doing it at least a decade before we knew what that meant. Unfortunately, his output has been paltry o...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Jonathan Richman
Title: You Must Ask the Heart
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rounder / Umgd
Release Date: 4/25/1995
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriters, Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 011661904729, 011661904743, 4015698577228, 401569857722

Jonathan Richman deserves his due as a great pop cultural hero simply for being the original postmodern songwriter--and doing it at least a decade before we knew what that meant. Unfortunately, his output has been paltry of late. But even if 1995's You Must Ask the Heart runs a mere thirty-two minutes (half of which are taken up by covers), as a follow-up to an album where he remade his own songs in Spanish it will do just fine. Call him what you will, a rock-devolved folkie, an overly precious child-man, an adenoidal enigma. But when he sets his mind to it, Richman can still write songs as whimsical or as plainly astute as any guitar-slinger around. Self-conscious perhaps, but never self-indulgent, his songs don't get mired in the vague soul purging that makes many singer-songwriters insufferable. But a glut of retreads from a guy whose chief asset is his inventiveness suggests a drying well. He Jonathanizes Sam Cooke and "The Rose" with his sincere nasal singing, acoustic strumming, and some light accompaniment, but offers fairly standard readings. Only the up-tempo shuffle of Tom Waits's "The Heart Of Saturday Night" truly refigures the original. --Roni Sarig

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CD Reviews

You Must Ask For Rush Delivery
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Jonathan Richman's biggest asset (along with his wonderfully entertaining live performances, of course) is his refreshing sound and approach to life. Who else would sing a capella about baseball's legendary good-guy, Walter "Big Train" Johnson? This is a simple little album, and its best moments are simply beautiful, with songs like "You Must Ask The Heart" and "City Vs. Country." As always, no matter what mood the songs portray, the words are Richman at his most honest. More importantly, it's not just the words, but his vocal style as well that is refreshingly honest. Note the sincerity in the "No! No!" that follows the line, "You want to warn her how her boyfriend's no good" in "Let Her Go Into The Darkness." Richman isn't just a seriously honest guy, however; he displays his unique lighter side in the songs "Vampire Girl" and "Just Because I'm Irish," which is a duet with Saturday Night Live alumna (is that proper Latin?) Julia Sweeney. While his covers of "The Rose" and "Nothing Can Change This Love" may not be the most inspired recordings of JoJo's career, they are surely preferable to the complete musical fracturing of standards that seems to be the road more traveled these days. The only real problem with this album is its length, which measures in at just under thirty-three minutes. That's simply not enough of a good thing in this case."
Buy this cd
A Connolly | 12/12/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Jonathan Richman is living proof of a higher power in the universe"
JoJo keeps it simple
A Connolly | Finstock, Oxfordshire United Kingdom | 09/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Jonathan Richman has presented himself as many things in the mood of his records and the varying subjects of his songwriting. Alot of people only know him as the guy who wrote 'Roadrunner' and then disappeared off the face of the earth.
But since that punk standard, Jonathan has presented himself as one thing through all the angle-altering, and that is a man of his own invention.
So, in many ways this album works because its JoJo. It's him showing us all the music he loves in half an hour, using limited accompaniment (as expected) and largeley to-the-point material.
The title track is a standout for me, and its not a disappointment that its a serious number. I admit to waiting for the jokes on this song (and others on the record), but I think Jon deserves praise for keeping it serious. It actually makes for some very touching moments on the album, and the lighter moments - when they come - are well-placed and not unduly silly.
A magnificent cover of the Tom Waits classic 'The Heart of Saturday Night' is a real swinger, while 'The Rose' is an intriguing and thoughtful rediscovery.
But the highlights of this album , for me, are the closing acapella numbers, which really bring the true JR to the recording. 'Walter Johnson' is beautifully paced and thoroughly engaging, whilst the inclusion of 'Nishi' is a masterstroke to bring up the folk underbelly of the entire LP."