Skip to main content

100 Albums: "Violent Femmes" by Violent Femmes

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Violent Femmes
Title: Violent Femmes
Released: 1983
Genre: alternative acoustic teen angst


Violent Femmes' debut album was written by lead singer Gordon Gano while he was still in high school. The songs are goofy and sometimes childish, but they have a heart-on-sleeve earnestness that I find compelling. It didn't chart at all when it came out, but eventually went platinum in 1991 when several of its tracks found their way into radio rotation in the growing alternative movement. Gano's high, whiny voice and the stripped down arrangements--most of the songs are entirely played on acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, and a snare drum with brushes--give it a distinctive and instantly-recognizable aesthetic.

It has all of the Femmes' most popular songs, including the iconic Blister In The Sun. The intro to that song is one of the first four or five things a guitar player learns when picking up the instrument. Add It Up is probably the angstiest song on the record, with Gano shouting "Why can't I get just one screw?" at an unnamed paramour. Kiss Off (embedded) is probably my favorite, with its middle counting section: "I take one, one, one 'cause you left me and two, two, two for my family..." The goofiest song is Please Do Not Go, and at the same time it's the most heart-on-sleeve vulnerable. And of course, you have to love Gone Daddy Gone with its xylophone hook and lyrics... er... "borrowed" from Muddy Waters.

Further Listening: Violent Femmes are still around and even put out an album this year, but I haven't heard much of their other material. Gnarls Barkley did a fun cover of Gone Daddy Gone on St. Elsewhere.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Albums

Hello all!

In an attempt to keep the old blog from atrophying, I'm going to try out a project a friend of mine did a few years ago and spend the year writing about some of my favorite albums. So over the next 50 weeks, you can expect a couple entries a week until we get to 100. Or until I run out of steam and give up. Whichever comes first.

The only rule I'm giving myself here is to limit things to one album per artist. If that would preclude other favorite albums from making the list, I'll note it, but I don't want the list to be completely overrun by Radiohead and the Beatles. I'm going to start at the top of the list (that is, with my #1 favorite), but the ordering is not super rigorous--especially beyond the first twenty or so.

I'll put a master list on a page that's easily accessible from the front and I'll probably throw in some supplemental stuff, like albums I loved as a child but can't really listen to anymore for various reasons or albums …

"Writing Lots!" by Dawn Vogel

Hi, I'm Dawn, and I'm doing guest post here on Kurt's blog. I write fantasy, steampunk, YA, and pretty much anything else that looks shiny for a moment. You can learn more about me here! Today, I'm talking about how I write as much as I do.

I've been writing since I knew how to do so, but I've been writing with an eye toward publication for about eleven years. As I've gotten more comfortable with the craft of writing, my productivity has increased dramatically. In the first six years I was writing seriously, I wrote fewer than twenty short stories, all told. Over the next three years, I increased my output and wrote about a dozen stories a year (with an occasional poem mixed in). Last year, I wrote 38 short stories/flash and 6 poems. This year, I've already surpassed that, and it's only September.

In analyzing how I've increased my output so dramatically, I've found three main keys to my prolific writing: 1) planning, 2) stolen moments, and 3)…

100 Albums: "Untitled (IV/Zoso)" by Led Zeppelin

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: untitled
Released: 1971
Genre: classic rock


Is there a more epic album opening than Black Dog? Plant screaming "Hey, Hey, Mama..." and a trio of musicians exploding into that proto-metal riff behind him? There's a reason Led Zeppelin is always included in discussions of who might be the greatest rock band of all time: Plant's bluesy wail, Bonham's impossibly huge drum sound, Page's guitar work--and tone, when people talk about "vintage guitar tone" they're talking about Jimmy Page--and Jones's bass and keys (bassists are the unsung heroes of rock, and Jones's bass work here is low-key phenomenal). They're an iconic band, and this is their most iconic album.

Officially untitled, but commonly referred to as either Zoso or IV, this record is not only their best-selling, but it contains their most well-known song, Stairway To H…