Album Essentials: The Violent Femmes Debut Album
This week’s Summit Essential is a true American Classic!
As the story goes, the Violent Femmes were discovered while busking on the street in front of a theater where the Pretenders were playing. They were asked to come in and do a short opening set that night, and the rest is history. Call them folk, folk punk, angst pop, your choice; just know that they were true originals. Yes, you can trace parts of their sound back to the Velvet Underground and the Modern Lovers, but the songs of Gordon Gano, and the way he, Brian Ritchie, and Victor DeLorenzo executed those songs, was truly their own thing.
Signed to Slash Records, their landmark debut album was released in the spring of 1983, alongside other notable releases such as R.E.M's Mummer, and the Replacements Hootenanny, it was a banner time for the American underground. Violent Femmes music started attracting fans via college radio almost instantly. Now classic tracks like "Blister In The Sun," "Gone Daddy Gone," "Kiss Off," and "Prove My Love" already sounded like classics upon first spin. While the ultimate teenage angst anthems, "Promise," "Add It Up" and "Confessions" have yet to lose any of their power 40 years on. Timeless teenage problems don't get old, they just trade owners.
Several of these songs still turn up on our airwaves for good reason; they have stood the test of time. It's an album that still sounds fresh, while also sounding very much of its time. The Femmes would go on to have an incredible career and release a catalog of wonderful albums -- but this is where it all started.
Tune into The Summit FM all day Thursday, May 25th to hear tracks from The Violent Femmes as our Summit Album Essential of the week!