Forgotten Album of the Month: Violent Femmes
Violent Femmes are best known for their self-titled debut which contains classics like “Add It Up” and “Blister in the Sun” but without a doubt their best album is the follow-up, 1984’s Hallowed Ground.
The story goes that drummer Victor DeLorenzo and bassist Brian Ritchie didn’t want to record frontman Gordon Gano’s religious songs on the first album but afterwards, they warmed up to them and the band ended up recording what could essentially be called a religious folk record but it’s so damn good. Kicking off with the immortal “Country Death Song,” the band come across loud and clear with their intentions. The songs all come across a bit long except the less than two minute “I Hear the Rain” but everything sounds so good.
By the time “Never Tell” comes around, the listener should be enthralled with what they’re hearing because while the songs are religious, they don’t sound very preachy, just dark and foreboding. Then there’s songs like “I Know It’s True But I’m Sorry to Say,” which in my opinion should belong in the same pantheon as “Add It Up” and “Kiss Off,” because of how it shows Gano wearing his emotions on his sleeve.
Although the album is only nine songs long, there’s not a lot to complain about but that’s a good thing. If there is one complaint, it’s about the overly song brass breakdown in the middle of “Black Girls,” which is the most traditional Violent Femmes song on the record. Other than that, the album is absolutely legendary and why it isn’t talked about the same way the debut is is a shame and hopefully in a few years, that situation will be rectified. Until then, everyone will just have to hype the album up and spread the word of mouth around.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1NThk8ZoTs (Country Death Song)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMtqX1vcFOk (Never Tell)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11aitM_6DVA (Hallowed Ground)