Viva Wisconsin

Violent Femmes

Beyond Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Listening to the Violent Femmes over a 12-pack of beer is ideal. Only after slight inebriation can this music really get you moving and grooving. Stone cold sober fans wouldn't know a bad CD if it crumbled into dust around their genitals.

It'd be easy to say, "Yes, this CD rocks!" based solely on a couple of tracks. Songs from their first CD like "Prove My Love," "Confessions," "Good Feeling," "Gone Daddy Gone," "Add It Up," and "Kiss Off" do rock with varying degrees. To Joe Blow Average fan they are most likely to be recognized by melody, if not by the poetic lyrics of the band.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But the rest of the tracks, and there are 13, are awful. "Don't Talk About My Music" screams, "Leave me on the cutting floor room!" It is a short 2:13 track, yet you're likely to be mortified by the off-key vocals. "I'm Nothing" is another dead track . . . and the band chose to make it track number two.

"Special" includes the enlightening lyrics, "Special! Special! What do you get!" My answer is to hope that the band realizes, somehow, the bright spots are those songs from the band's first CD. Sounding somewhat like a typical band's fan, it's easy to bemoan follow-up material as not having as much spark and drive that the first CD did. And here, that's definitely true.

"Kiss Off" is the ultimate "You suck, so go to hell" song. Those tracks, up against the painfully shouts of "Dahmer Is Dead," make most of this CD unbearable. The drawn out intro of "American Music" evokes multiple yawns before a typical (read: boring) shuffle beat begins.

The Violent Femmes would be best served if they toured and only played the material from their Violent Femmes CD. Often, fans of a band will direct their fellow fans to the band's first CD as the base against which all comparisons should be based. Van Halen fans I have encountered hold Van Halen upon a pedestal so high, I may never see the top. The same is true with this band. The material they wrote for their Violent Femmes CD kicks so much butt that they will never be able to top it.

Give up and do the Kiss role: play "Kiss Off" on Saturday Night Live and we'll all be happy, critic and fan alike.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Beyond Records, and is used for informational purposes only.