Hitting the Ground

Hitting the Ground

by Gordon Gano
     
 

Although Hitting the Ground is the first solo album from Violent Femmes stalwart Gordon Gano, its true stars are the guest vocalists. Gano wrote these songs for David Moore's film Hitting the Ground, but he cedes the spotlight to a stellar list of compatriots. PJ Harvey, …  See more details below

Overview

Although Hitting the Ground is the first solo album from Violent Femmes stalwart Gordon Gano, its true stars are the guest vocalists. Gano wrote these songs for David Moore's film Hitting the Ground, but he cedes the spotlight to a stellar list of compatriots. PJ Harvey, John Cale, Lou Reed, They Might Be Giants, and Frank Black are all here, and it's amazing how well each song matches the singer. "Don't Pretend" features only Cale's stentorian baritone and commanding piano; it would sound at home on Cale's Paris 1919. Similarly, the doo-wop parody "Darlin' Allison" is all They Might Be Giants, in typical loopy, goofy form. Most tracks, however, build on Gano's rhythmic, rocking guitar lines. PJ Harvey sings the title track as if she's channeling a young Patti Smith, contributing unbridled energy and a wild guitar solo. Frank Black launches into "Run" with unhinged abandon. Lou Reed talk-sings the funny, funky "Catch 'Em in the Act," which could be an outtake from his album New Sensations. Mary Lou Lord, Linda Perry, and Gano's sister Cynthia Gayneau sing more serious ballads, and Gano himself sings three tracks, including a sarcastic duet with Martha Wainwright (Rufus's sister, Loudon's daughter). Hitting the Ground is a compendium of great vocal performances, but it's also a testament to Gordon Gano's versatile songwriting.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - MacKenzie Wilson
The Violent Femmes' punk-pop underground sound gave combative nobodies a voice in the '80s and '90s, thanks to Gordon Gano's playful twist on teen angst and panting sexual frustration. Two decades later, Gano was still the indie-rock artisan when he made his solo debut with Hitting the Ground. Gano's selection of songs were exclusively written for some of his heroes, not to mention some of indie-rock's finest like They Might Be Giants, Frank Black, and Mary Lou Lord. Hitting the Ground is flat-out clever, cool, and cocky. Cymbals and two-tone percussion shimmy and shake on the album title track. PJ Harvey is an uncanny match for Gano, for her wicked vocal stomp and distorted guitar work on this surf-styled number is equally fiery to his own sarcastic rendition. His frenzied punk howl of "Make It Happen" sticks with the winning formula, too. Ex-4 Non Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry carries the lovelorn torch song "So It Goes" beautifully, while John Cale remains unruffled on the piano-driven lounge cut "Don't Pretend." Gano's songwriting on these particular songs hit to the core of what we're all afraid to notice: Life sucks sometimes. He's always been painfully honest, whether he's been funny or crass about it. The funky "Catch 'Em in the Act" is classic Gano, with sexy, self-explanatory lyrics of male sexual adventure. Lou Reed's blues-tinged jams and sleek vocals point a finger at the paternal side of things, but humorously so. More than anything, it seems that Gordon Gano just wants to have fun. He's obviously had a blast with the Violent Femmes, but takes things in a personal direction on Hitting the Ground. What took him so long? That doesn't matter. Hitting the Ground is up to expectation and longtime Femmes fans shouldn't be surprised.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/20/2002
Label:
Instinct Records
UPC:
0720841057024
catalogNumber:
410570

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gordon Gano   Primary Artist,Vocals
John Cale   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Lou Reed   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
They Might Be Giants   Vocals,Track Performer
PJ Harvey   Guitar,Vocals
Frank Black   Vocals,Track Performer
Melora Creager   Cello
Linda Perry   Vocals,Track Performer
Frank Ferrer   Drums
Cynthia Gayneau   Vocals,Track Performer
Martha Wainwright   Vocals
Mary Lou Lord   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Brendan Ryan   Keyboards
OConnor   Background Vocals
Lonnie Hillyer   Bass

Technical Credits

Dave Moore   Executive Producer
They Might Be Giants   Producer,Instrumentation
Martin Brass   Engineer
Warren A. Bruleigh   Producer,Engineer
Gordon Gano   Producer
John Goodmanson   Engineer
Rob Lewis   Engineer
Larry Mah   Engineer
Steve Rosenthal   Engineer
Oliver Strauss   Engineer
Alex Reed   Engineer
Michael White   Engineer
Michael Douglass   Engineer
Taylor Deupree   Art Direction
Nicola Stemmer   Engineer

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