Violent Femmesby Violent Femmes
One of the most distinctive records of the early alternative movement and an enduring cult classic, Violent Femmes weds the geeky, child-man persona of Jonathan Richman and the tense, jittery, hyperactive feel of new wave in an unlikely context: raw, amateurish acoustic folk-rock. The music also owes something to the Modern Lovers' minimalism, but powered by Brian Ritchie's busy acoustic bass riffing and the urgency and wild abandon of punk rock, the Femmes forged a sound all their own. Still, the main reason Violent Femmes became the preferred soundtrack for the lives of many an angst-ridden teenager is lead singer and songwriter Gordon Gano. Naive and childish one minute, bitterly frustrated and rebellious the next, Gano's vocals perfectly captured the contradictions of adolescence and the difficulties of making the transition to adulthood. Clever lyrical flourishes didn't hurt either; while "Blister In the Sun" has deservedly become a standard, "Kiss Off"'s chant-along "count-up" section, "Add It Up"'s escalating "Why can't I get just one..." couplets, and "Gimme the Car"'s profanity-obscuring guitar bends ensured that Gano's intensely vulnerable confessions of despair and maladjustment came off as catchy and humorous as well. Even if the songwriting slips a bit on occasion, Gano's personality keeps the music engaging and compelling without overindulging in his seemingly willful naiveté. For the remainder of their career, the group would only approach this level in isolated moments.
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Performance CreditsViolent Femmes Primary Artist
Brian Ritchie Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Xylophone,Slide Whistle,Jaw Harp
Victor de Lorenzo Drums,Bass Drums,Vocals,Snare Drums,Brass Drum,Tranceaphone
Gordon Gano Guitar,Violin,Vocals
Mark VanHecke Piano
Technical CreditsGlen Lorbiecki Engineer
John Tanner Engineer
Mark VanHecke Producer
Geoff "Stinky" Worman Back Cover
Jeff Price Cover Design
Ron Hugo Cover Photo
Laurie Lindblom Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This has got to be one of the best,if not the only recording that you can sing along with and totally enjoy every listening minute. I mean this is it, the begging, the start of the whole revolution of alternative music. The whole album is filled with ups and downs and every feeling you can imagine. The way he acheives this is from his childish acts and the differances in Gano's vioce. I mean it just all fits the way they did it. No matter what feeling or situation they were singing about it was if you were there and could totally relate to all of it. This is a must have album. If you have it, get it out. If you don't have it, get it now. You'll thank me later.
In 1983, the Violent Femmes' first recording, and certainly their most prolific, had the underground world in an uproar, becoming the first album to ever reach platnum status without once making the Top 100 charts. With the release of "Violent Femmes", the band made musical history, as well as changed the way musicians approached vocals. A swaggering voice and a dirty t-shirt lead the revolution, and Gordon Gano was nothing short of genius on songs such as "Promise" and "Gimme The Car". With much sincereity, I give this beautifully crafted piece five stars.