Dude, you’re SO not getting it.
Jonathan Richman is a manifestation of the godhead. I nearly peed myself in high school when I finally got my hands on a cut-out cassette copy of Rock ‘n’ Roll with the Modern Lovers. “Dodge Veg-O-Matic” is actually the masterwork on that album, but “Ice Cream Man”, “Rockin’ Rockin’ Leprechaun”, “Roller Coaster by the Sea”, and “Egyptian Reggae” are pretty great as well.
The singular genius of Jonathan Richman is his willingness to admit to emotions, aesthetic preferences, etc. that are generally considered “un-cool” or “square” particularly by the sort of people who listen to off-the-beaten path music. Years before Devo declared that they were “through being cool”, he was creating songs like “Modern World”, “I’m Straight”, “Dignified and Old”, and the seminal “Roadrunner” that sounded like the Velvet Underground or the Stooges but celebrated square, traditional, un-hip things like parents, avoiding drugs, and Stop and Shops – without a shred of irony or “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” knowingness. He’s continued to do the same for the last 35 years(!) or so, and while the music hasn’t sounded nearly so intense and electric in the last 30 since he relocated to the Bay Area in the early 70s, his refusal to give a damn whether you think he’s hip or not hasn’t changed. His songs can be emotionally raw and painful in ways that the most angst-ridden grunge rockers or traditionally sensitive singer-songwriter types haven’t even conceived of, but that’s their strength as well.