My Top 1000 Songs #563: Pablo Picasso

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

The Modern Lovers' self-titled debut LP (recorded in 1972, eventually released in 1976) remains one of history's greatest records, a one-non-hit-wonder of sorts, with Jonathan Richman turning to the more whimsical, stripped down music he'd champion throughout his career by the time of its belated release. Much of the charm is the dichotomy between the music's raw, post-Velvet Underground immediacy and Richman's anti-Lou-Reed high-on-life worldview. Richman most closely approximated true VU indebtedness on the sublimely ridiculous "Pablo Picasso," a Velvety one-chord guitar churn with an edgier lyrical turn than much of the record. The ode to the late artist is dark, delightful absurdity, and the first time I heard it I found myself quoting it in my head for weeks. 

"Some people try to pick up girls and get called assholes. This never happened to Pablo Picasso. He could walk down your street and girls could not resist his stare. And so Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole."

We have a Picasso print hanging in the guest bathroom of our house (this one), and, some 40 years after I first heard the song, I cannot walk into the bathroom without thinking... "Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole. Not like you." Now that's power!

David Bowie cover:
Jonathan, still going in 2022:
I probably first heard it (or at least a cover of it) during one of those obsessive high school late-night Repo Man viewings: