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Music / Violent Femmes

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"Let me go on
Like I blister in the sun
Let me go on
Big hands I know you're the one
Violent Femmes, "Blister in the Sun"

Violent Femmes are an American Folk Punk band from Milwaukee. The band consisted of singer/guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and drummer, Victor Lorenzo, who was replaced with Guy Hoffman in 1993. The current drummer is Brian Viglione. Along with acts like R.E.M. and Hüsker Dü, the Femmes were one of the first commercially successful alt rock bands. Their debut album, Violent Femmes, released in 1983, containing their most successful song, "Blister in the Sun", among other notable tracks, went platinum.They disbanded in 2009; however, as of 2013, they are active again.

Studio Discography:

  • Violent Femmes (1983)
  • Hallowed Ground (1984)
  • The Blind Leading The Naked (1986)
  • 3 (1989)
  • Why Do Birds Sing? (1991)
  • New Times (1994)
  • Rock!!!! (1995)
  • Freak Magnet (2000)
  • We Can Do Anything (2016)
  • Hotel Last Resort (2019)

Violent Tropes:

  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Mentioned word for word in "Please Do Not Go"
  • Cover Version: The Femmes have covered Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" and Marc Bolan's "Children of the Revolution".
    • The neo-soul/funk duo Gnarls Barkley released a cover version of the Femmes song "Gone Daddy Gone" as a single. In response, the Femmes covered Gnarls Barkley's biggest hit "Crazy". They also covered "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah," a song from The Jetsons.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The protagonist of "Blister in the Sun" is in the middle of a debilitating heroin addiction.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Depicted in the video for "Gone Daddy Gone". Mom and kids are eating dinner, there's a plate of food for Dad, but he's not there... he's at the club down the street, ogling the go-go dancer. And on that note...
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: Just try to watch the last minute of the "Gone Daddy Gone" video without getting a seizure... or at least a headache. Some parts of the "I Held Her In My Arms" video are also bad for this.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: The second half of "Black Girls" is a cacophonous instrumental break that consists of a broken sounding saxophone, followed by a Jew/Jaw Harp, followed by a mixture of what sounds like animal screeches and squeaky dog toys.
  • Genre Shift: They went from an angsty punk style on their debut album, to a generally calmer sound, with some tracks having influences of country and gospel on their sophomore album, Hallowed Ground.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Implied in "Country Death Song"
  • Intercourse with You: "Add it Up", "Gimme The Car"
  • Larynx Dissonance: New listeners might easily mistake Gano's voice for that of a low-voiced woman.
  • List Song: The counting part in "Kiss Off"
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Add It Up"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Blister in the Sun" is a cheerful ditty about a guy whose life is being wrecked by heroin.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Old Mother Reagan" (31 seconds), "Two People" (58 seconds) and "Dahmer Is Dead" (38 seconds).
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The track, "Good Feeling", from the debut album, is a slow and calming song, which is a contrast to the sound of the rest of the album; This is especially true of the US CD version of the album that ends in two bonus tracks, since instead of being the last song on the album, it gets sandwiched between two much more manic songs ("Gone Daddy Gone" and "Ugly"). To a lesser extent, the reggae inspired "Please Do Not Go" which was from the same album.
    • On Hallowed Ground, the grim, intense "Never Tell" is immediately followed by the cheery spiritual "Jesus Walking on the Water."
  • Offing the Offspring: "Country Death Song"
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Add it Up". "Why can't I get just one fuck?"
  • Race Fetish: "Black Girls"
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: The band did a 30 second long cover of the Spongebob Squarepants theme song for a DVD extra.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: "Tonight." The cover art for Rock!!!!! also depicts this.
  • Shout-Out: "Gone Daddy Gone" borrows a whole verse of Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You". The marimba part in the same song is meant as a pastiche of "Under My Thumb" by The Rolling Stones.
  • The Something Song: "Country Death Song"
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: In "Gimme The Car":
    Come on Dad, I ain't no runt / Come on girl, gimme your (guitar twang)
  • Studio Chatter: "American Music":
    Gordon Gano: Can I... Can I put in somethin' like 'this is American music, take one'? One, two, three, four...