Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Song(s) of the Day # 940 Jeremy Jay

In a highly illuminating interview from seventies Australian television John Cale discusses the initial appeal of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers when he first came upon them in the early part of that decade and agreed to produce them. He describes their music as incredibly slender and definitively weak, and it was this aspect of them that made them special and worthy of attention.

Richman lay down this template but many have followed his lead across the decades since. Jeremy Jay for example. I spent yesterday listening, increasingly enraptured, to the series of albums he's put out over the past ten years. Four songs from four of those records are posted here. I might have posted umpteen others. Jay is a tall spindly figure, slightly aloof and apart, distinctly arch, with a frail, slight warbling voice and a doomed romantic perspective. Songs for the weak, the lonely and the lovelorn. He sings again and again about the shaky terror of making the first fearful, tentative steps in teenage romance and has a touching and compelling fixation within his songs towards the dream state.

The records are almost invariably quite wonderful. Not ever destined, it now seems apparent, to get the mainstream attention they deserve but then that's all the better for those in the know. Backed by  skeletal, new wave arrangements which become slightly more embellished with the passing years. He's a worthy heir to the legacy of Jonathan, Edwyn and Morrissey and living proof that this stuff can still be admirably achieved given the requisite talent and vision.

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