01 February 2006

jonathan richman & the modern lovers - "the new teller" (from the jonathan richman & the modern lovers lp, import available for purchase here.)

in brief : on inter-mall romances, the prospect thereof, and rock & roll.

working in a mall, you do what you can to make the time pass more quickly and agreeably. some of my co-workers and i do this by either cultivating or, as w/ y.t. genuinely having, a mall crush. it's a fleeting, transient thing that tends to last only until you find out something about that you can't countenance : bad taste in music, an unfortunate tattoo, or a boyfriend, say.

a co-worker went through my cd's and put on this jonathan richman comp. my boss walks into the back just in time to hear j.r. sing :
well everybody in the bank line knows that i got a crush on the new teller, it's plain as day, i might as well tell her, she looks my way and she knows quite weller.
quick as lightning, he replies, "well, i can see why fred likes this band." (though, i hasten to add, i've never had a crush on any of the bank tellers in the mall, which makes me something of the oddity amongst my fellows.)

and, yes, it's really hard to dislike any song that expresses this kind of sentiment, esp. w/ the light, breezy rock & roll stylings of jonathan richman and his modern lovers. while the glam rockers were resurrecting the likes of berry, cochran, and vincent, richman was paying homage, not to a particular artist, but to a style, a way of doing things, an esp. undervalued era in rock history, viz. those days of u.s. rock after elvis and before the beatles, a spirit best embodied by the showmen's 1961 "it will stand"--a song, quite naturally, the band covered. it's music that draws attention away from itself, facilitating the message, a crush on a bank teller. not groundbreaking stuff, but music one can utterly relate to, music one tucks away into the folds of the old grey matter and that one happily recalls in such moments of simple, passing joy.

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