The Late Movies: Violent Femmes' First Album Turns 29

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Violent Femmes album coverIn my neverending quest to make you feel old, I have news: the eponymous Violent Femmes album (also known as "the best Violent Femmes album") turns 29 years old this month. Originally released in April of 1983, Violent Femmes featured an irresistible mix of teen angst and catchy pop, recorded with a super-minimalist set of instruments (drummer Victor DeLorenzo often played just one drum -- a snare -- rather than a full kit). Now, Readers of a Certain Age, let's run down these tracks. Be honest, how many of those can you sing along to? If you're like me, the answer is "every damn one of 'em."

"Blister in the Sun"

The canonical Femmes track, this live performance features a hella mullet on bassist Brian Ritchie. See also: this version live in London, 1984.

"Kiss Off"

A crowd-pleaser, complete with crazed stares by Gordon Gano: "I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record." See also: this cover by Arcade Fire.

"Please Do Not Go"

The Femmes started busking early on (hence the acoustic instruments and minimal drums); about a minute into this clip, we see a killer live busking performance of "Please Do Not Go" in New York. Sadly, the clip cuts off before the song is over, so I've included a more recent live performance.

"Add It Up"

From London, October 1984. Content warning: there is a naughty word in this one.

"Confessions"

Live in Madrid, April 2, 1985. This one goes a little psychobilly freakout towards the end. Note that on the original album, this song finished Side A.

"Prove My Love"

Live on The Old Grey Whistle Test. The first little bit is intentionally silent, apparently. "Third verse, same as the first!"

"Promise"

"Please ignore my vacant stares." Live in Ontario, 1991.

"To the Kill"

From the same show in Ontario. Ritchie's mullet is still in fine form.

"Gone Daddy Gone"

For this one, I think the official music video is the way to go. "When I see you, eyes will turn blue. When I see you, a thousand eyes turning blue."

"Good Feeling"

What a way to close a record.

But Wait, There's More

If you liked those, I encourage you to check out "American Music," my favorite non-first-album Femmes track. What's your favorite?

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April 25, 2012 - 6:00pm
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