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Her Mystery Not of High Heel...
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Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow is a Jonathan Richman relationships album, which means it contains the songwriter's Woody Allen-ish proclivity to look at love's sweaty armpits as well as its quick-beating heart. The 14 songs cover courtship with a lyrical sharpness that keeps you tuned to Richman's stories from beginning to end (even if the occasional Spanish lyrics are a little tough to decipher). Her Mystery begins with a bouncy ode to the girl (who likes to rock) next door, and strays further into the unusual from there. "Springtime in New York" is a conversational walk through Manhattan, where couples are meeting, fighting, breaking up, and "when demolishing a building brings the smell of 1890 to the breeze." "Couples Must Fight" is the parental chat you get after that first big blowup, where Richman admits, "for a better day tomorrow, couples must argue, couples must fight." And on "Give Paris One More Chance," he begs if you "don't think that Paris was made for love, give Paris one more chance." The songs stand on the strength of Richman's off-the-wall observational skills, backed by his chaste, '50s rock & roll rhythms that are poppy enough for the dance floor. Score one each for love's underdogs and bone-dry humor. --Jennifer Maerz


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