Our Top 10 Violent Femmes Songs introduces us to an American folk punk and rock band that has put Milwaukee on the map of cities that gave us great musicians. Violent Femmes was founded by bassist Brian Ritchie and percussionist Victor DeLorenzo, who would later tag guitarist and vocalist Gordon Gano. We all have a foundation in whatever art or craft we practice, and for Violent Femmes, this would be playing at coffee houses and street corners. The band became a sensation for many who loved their musical style. Violent Femmes would later start playing music in reputable places, including Oriental Theatre, where Chrissie Hynde invited them to play an acoustic set after opening acts. With all the band’s experience, the members felt that time was ripe for the band to make major steps in the music industry by releasing an album.
Violent Femmes would, in early 1983, release an eponymous album that rewarded the band imminently with critical acclaim. The album Violent Femmes would later become the band’s highest-selling album helping the band establish its name in the competitive music industry of the 80s. By 2005, Violent Femmes was undisputed one of the greatest rock bands from Milwaukee, selling over nine million albums. While they might have been successful, the band has gone through several moments of redefinition, which came with lineup changes after brief splits. Violent Femmes band members currently include lead vocalist and guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and drummer John Sparrow. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Violent Femmes Songs that have not only made the band a rare gem in their art but continue to shape the future of alternative rock.
#10 – Gimme the Car
Ushering us to the Top 10 Violent Femmes Songs is “Gimme the Car” from the band’s eponymous album. “Gimme the Car” is about someone who tries talking to his dad into letting him have his car for the night. Sadly, the car was to be used in a date-rape on a lady the guy knows and wishes to take advantage of when she is helpless after intoxication. Songwriter Gordon Gano would reveal the song was inspired by teen angst that many have encountered. Unfortunately, some probably got his message wrong, which led to his expulsion from his school after playing it for an assembly.
#9 – Never Tell
The hit “Never Tell” is a superb song that is beautiful all-around, from a brilliant bass line to great vocals. You ought to love Gano’s whiney repetitive singings in this hit song. Featured on the band’s 1984 album Hallowed Ground, “Never Tell” brings on the sublime writing skills of Gano, who at the moment was a high school student. While tons of songs from the album had divisive talks from the band’s fans and critics, “Never Tell” stood out to be one of the album’s greatest songs.
#8 – American Music
Before the band would lose one of its founding members, drummer Victor DeLorenzo to acting, they released the album Why Do Birds Sing? While many rocked from the album, “American Music” stood out amongst most of them thanks to its catchy vibe. Dancing to American music and getting so high on a high school prom is something that many will remember even at their old age.
#7 – Country Death Song
Featured on the band’s album Hallowed Death, “Country Death Song” is another composition from Gordon Gano when he was only a high school student. Gano pieced up lyrics to this song when he was in sophomore while in a study hall. “Country Death Song” is inspired by a backwater redneck who goes nuts killing his daughter by throwing her down a well. Like most people who commit murder driven by anger, the father hangs himself later in a barn. If you think you heard the sound of the piano in “Country Death Song,” then you might not be any different from Slash Records’ Bob Biggs, who mistook the banjo beats for piano beats.
#6 – Please Don’t Go
When a man is in love, he is afraid of losing that woman he dearly treasures. Featured on Violent Femmes debut album, “Please Don’t Go,” allows the band to do a sublime expression of love to a lady who seems to be leaving. You can feel the teenage love vibe in the song’s mood, the lyrics, and even the performance. “Please Don’t Go” sounds like more of a song from a guy who is infatuated with a girl and doesn’t know what love is. At the time of the album’s release, its members were quite young, including singer and songwriter Gano.
#5 – Color Me Once
Written by Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie, “Color Me Once” is one of the best Violent Femmes songs having it feature as a soundtrack for the 1994 film The Crow. “Color Me Once” is about a man finding out the realities of life and relationships in a depressing but good way. We all begin life with open arms and a touch of naivety only to have the world present some unforgiving cruelty. In terms of a relationship, emotions are like a rollercoaster where you keep wondering what those you love feel about you. Sadly, you might only get an answer when they mean nothing to you.
#4 – Good Feeling
“Good Feeling” is one of the best Violent Femmes songs written by Gordon Gano. Gano was only 15 years of age when he penned the lyrics to its awe-inspiring lyrics. “Good Feeling” is an affectionate expression of fairy-tale love that depicts how much everyone wishes for a long-lasting good feeling which might help them face tough times to come.
#3 – Add It Up
Featured on the band’s debut album, “Add It Up” is a great ballad built on the greatness of Gano’s sublime songwriting skills and vocals and sublime bass lines. The song has been deciphered by many to be about teenage angst and sexual frustration. And true to the word, “Add It Up” is about a purchase of services from a prostitute where the teenage guy seems to have quite an order on his service wish list. Amongst the frustration he has to go through while receiving the service is having the mistress count her money right before the action occurs.
#2 – Kiss Off
“Kiss Off” is a song from the band’s eponymous debut album worth listing in the top 10 Violent Femmes songs. Notably, it is about the singer’s frustrations with the world around him and the emptiness he feels in this lonely world. Specifically, the song is used to narrate the problems the singer goes through, which includes people in his life who feels they aren’t appreciative of who he is, hence the dismissive word ‘kiss off.’
#1 – Blister in the Sun
Number one in our top 10 Violent Femmes songs is the hit “Blister in the Sun” from the band’s debut album. Written by the band’s singer Gano, “Blister in the Sun” is a song about the strung-out vibe of drug abuse. Notably, the lady here is at her wit’s end since the guy has lacked sexual control staining the sheets from time to time. The band picks on powerful guitar riffs to deliver this smashing hit with a cult following, especially on American college radio. Additionally, “Blister in the Sun” has been used as a soundtrack for the film Grosse Point Blank proving its success in mainstream media.
Top 10 Violent Femmes Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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