I was 13 going on 14 when this album came out (in 1983) and that was good planning on my part. Even today it feels like the most teen album ever. It perfectly captures adolescent angst, the sexual frustration and confusion of that age, and is so refreshingly and uncomfortably honest about being a hormone-driven, crazy in love teenager that it makes no sense it became popular, and PERFECT sense it became popular.
Violent Femmes is one of those wonderfully rare albums that hasn’t aged. There’s no gated drum, synth-pop bullshit, no jangly guitars, and no tinny production that would timestamp it as “’80s.” In fact, it could’ve come out in 1973 or 2003 and it would’ve been just as out of step in either year as it was in 1983. The album has a dry, spartan feel, with little more than Victor DeLorenzo’s stark snare rolls, Brian Ritchie’s whipsaw, tornado basslines, and Gordon Gano’s hollow, echoey guitar scrape (and a jagged howl of a voice to match). On paper, it’s nothing we think of when we think of trad punk, but Violent Femmes is punk as fuck. On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a 10 for EVERYTHING EVERYTHING EVERYTHING EVERYTHING!!!
Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes – 1983 [Amazon]