Daniel Johnston, Respect

Jeff Feuerzeig

By Jeff Feuerzeig

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Having delivered seven flawless albums in less than four years, Daniel felt he was owed something: respect. To quote the great bard (via Rodney Dangerfield), "You can't buy no respect, like the librarian said," and he was correct: respect is earned. No performer had ever worked harder, regardless of what his mother screamed at him or how much his family had called him a lazy bum for his entire waking life. Evidence speaks otherwise and the jury feels that, yes, Daniel Johnston is the Rocky Balboa (or at least the Chuck Wepner) of pop music — the consummate underdog who earned the respect of all men and, hopefully one woman — Laurie, for whom he'd now written 117 songs. (Jeez, Laurie, can you give the guy a break?) Respect contains the woulda, shoulda, coulda been a hit "Go," the pre-Velvet Underground Lou Reed-inspired "Merry-Go-Round" and the tender "A Little Bit of Soap" to wash away the tears of disappointment when his entreaties fell upon Laurie's deaf ears.