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Violent Femmes

4.7 out of 5 stars 208 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 17, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2002 U.S. remaster with bonus CD of outtakes, live, rarities etc.

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Emerging, literally, from the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they gained notoriety through busking, this strange trio led by guitarist-vocalist Gordon Gano became a cult favorite with their self-titled debut album in 1983. Influenced greatly by Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, the Femmes' minimalist sound pitted Gano's low-volume electric guitar against Brian Ritchie's acoustic bass guitar and Victor De Lorenzo's ashcanlike homemade drum kit--all of which only served to make Gano's angst-ridden adolescent tirades more arresting. Highlights here are the rockabillyish "Gone Daddy Gone," the snotty "Kiss Off," and the emblematically nervous "Blister in the Sun." All in all, a fond reminder of the innocent days of alt-rock. (Note: The 20th anniversary deluxe version of the album includes an additional 26 demos and live tunes, 22 of them never before released.) --Billy Altman
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 17, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 1983
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B00004YLBC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,931 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Finefrock VINE VOICE on September 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I remember picking up the cassette of this when it first came out and going for a ride in the car to give it a listen. By the time I got around to playing it for the second time, I was singing along to the songs like they had been decade old classics. The Violent Feemes had struck gold on their first release. A band in 1983 that played mostly acoustic instuments like upright bass, xylaphone and trash can drums was quite rare, and to do so with more passion than any of the current hardcore punk bands was shocking. Gordon Gano filtered Holden Caulfield through Lou Reed with a touch of Jonathon Richman, to create teen angst classics for that time, and times to come. The Femmes would falter after the release of their second album Hallowed Ground and would perhaps be forgotten as mere footnotes if not for their first album. In some ways this became the Dark Side of the Moon for the eighties generation. Enjoy it.
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Format: Audio CD
I went nuts when this album went out of print since I didn't have it. The debut self-titled release from the Femmes is hailed as the only Violent Femmes album you'll ever need, and I was surprised to see it discontinued. But I found it some time ago and know it is being re-issued. This album is the classic I hoped it to be. Many of the Femmes biggest songs are here including "Blister In The Sun", "Kiss Off", "Gone Daddy Gone", and "Add It Up." But every song on here is great from "Please Don't Go" to "Prove My Love" to "Promises." The Femmes sound is completely unique: think folk-inspired acoustic rock with a swift kick of punk in there. Gordon's lyrics are sad and angsty, yet sort of funny at times as he begs and pleads to "get just one kiss" [and a few other things ;) ] in "Add It Up" and counts down his depressions one-by-one in "Kiss Off." Bottom line: Don't miss out again; pick this up now!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Violent Femmes' 1983 self-titled debut is one of the most groundbreaking, important, influential, and enjoyable albums ever released, a musical testament that speaks to all dispossessed souls then, now, and probably forever. Teenagers were particularly drawn to this music in the band's early years, at least those who were fortunate enough to learn of these extraordinary three guys from Milwaukee. I will always associate my angst-filled teen years with groups such as the Violent Femmes, The Cure, and The Smiths because these guys seemed to relate to my own anxieties and frustrations in a way no one around me possibly could. This quirky, uniquely acoustic music has always spoken to those who feel set apart from those around them, who ask questions that no one else asks, and wonder why no one understands them. Over twenty years later, this album is still influencing those of us who grew up with Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie, and Victor Delorenzo, but even more incredibly it continues to have a real impact on the next generation of young people searching for meaning in a confusing world.
The original album featured ten songs, every single one of which rates as an anthem in my book. No college party would ever have been complete without the blasting out of such tracks as Blister in the Sun, Kiss Off, or Add it Up. The true heart of the group revealed itself on songs such as Promise, Prove My Love, and Gone Daddy Gone, while Please Do Not Go took me places I had never been before. Confessions is a bravely honest song set amidst a musical backdrop of sometimes pure cacophony. Then there was Good Feeling, a beautiful, almost happy song that sounded like nothing else on the album.
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Format: Audio CD
The first time I heard the Femmes, I felt that finally, FINALLY, someone had articulated exactly what it was like to be me: 16 years old, writhing with anxiety, tormented by hormones, wishing desperately to be someone else. It's hard to believe that 20 years have gone by -- these songs are still as fresh and edgy as if they'd been written yesterday. Go ahead, put on "Kiss Off" and scream along when Gordon Gano starts that crescendoing rant about "one, one, one 'cause you left me and two, two, two for my family and three, three, three for my heartache and four, four, four for my headache..." and see if you don't feel like you're 16 again, too.
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Format: Audio CD
The Violent Femmes' landmark debut album redefined punk music with their maverick acoustic sound. KROQ in Los Angeles put Blister in the Sun into heavy rotation. This catchy little song (actually more like the skeleton of a song) has the habit of showing up in the funniest places including in the repatoire of a hockey arena organist. The tortured and nervous lyrics of this first album lets you perfectly imagine the sweaty foreheads of some demented characters. Oddly, front man Gordon Gano makes it cool to be weak - on the verge on some breakdown and on the verge of lashing out. Most often he sounds like a sexually warped character alienated from, or obsessing over dependence on, some female. Other times he is a characature of someone disenfranchised from the rest of us at large. The jagged guitar work (reminds me of those of Pivot Foots guitarist Brent Walker) matches his obsessions and serves to echo them like his mental demons nodding and jumping up and down in agreement with all his sentiments. We the audience witness the whole mental illness dancing party. They were once described as a "coffee house trio gone insane." This album is a an absolute must have.
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