Top Ten Songs by the Violent Femmes

Top Ten Violent Femmes Songs

The following is a list of Violent Femmes songs that would make a good iTunes playlist.. If you are taking a long drive somewhere or just have a long commute to work and want some entertainment, I recommend the following ten songs as an introduction to the interesting, often deranged, world of the Violent Femmes. The Femmes inhabit their own world and their music is testament to that. Perhaps the definitive “alternative” band, The Violent Femmes’ most popular songs are still modern rock radio staples. Their strange and unique blend of (what we would today call) “indie,” punk, and pop styles of music is highly entertaining and contagious. There is a raw frustration and frenetic anxiety to their music that predates by decades the often bland, dull “emo-rock” of the present.

I listed the songs in descending order because, well, I felt like it.

10) Gimme the Car: This is a funny song about a young guy pleading to his dad to let him borrow the car so he can take a girl out and�umm�have a good time. The song is slow and different than most songs you have ever heard, but singer/songwriter Gordon Gano tells an interesting story as we follow him through the roller-coaster emotional cycle of this frustrated kid on a Friday night. Got angst? The Femmes do. A good first track to get a little weirded out to.

9) Black Girls: A song of dubious political correctness much like the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” this ode enumerates on what the latter leaves mostly to the imagination. A good listen.

8) Waiting for the Bus: This is a simple two-chord acoustic song about a big-city bus ride. Gano is able to capture some kind of universal raw truth about life through his worldly, pedestrian (albeit automotive) storytelling. The song capitalizes on one rider’s frustrated plea to the bus driver trying to kick him off of the bus because his transfer is expired. Things look bleak as Gano says, “We all get mad/ we all get late.”

7) Gordon’s Message: Okay, this one is not a song, and I’m not sure it’s worth 99 cents to download, but if you have the means I do suggest picking it up. It’s just a short clip of Gordon talking about how he has been locked inside his own house. It’s funny and contributes to the general feel and unkempt slacker-mystique of this unique band.

6) American Music: This is a fast-paced, great song about – something. The lyrics are strange and interesting. This is one of their best.

5) Out the Window: “Life was good, life was great/ until I made my big mistake.” This is an ironically light, poppy song.

4) Gone Daddy Gone: One of The Violent Femmes’ best songs. It is interesting and, like so many of their songs (and songs in general), it’s about girls. It has a unique sound courtesy of a catchy descending xylophone riff. The guitar work is outstanding, particularly at the solo. Listening to this song just puts you in an alternate state of mind. This song is one of the best and most interesting, if not the best and most interesting song, by the Violent Femmes. It was recently covered by the eclectic duo Gnarls Barkley.

3) Blister in the Sun: You have heard this song. It is probably the most popular and well-known song released by the Violent Femmes. Gano’s nasally vocals accentuate this song. A radio staple to this day, I’ll let you figure out what it is about.

2) Add It Up: Capitalizing on the Femmes’ minimalist, raw style, this radio-friendly, frenetic song embodies a sort of frustration and energy. It is in competition with “BlisterâÂ?¦” as their most ubiquitous song. It’s strong, catchy chorus and interesting lyrical and sonic segues make this song a classic.

1) Kiss Off: A song about loneliness, isolation, and paranoia. In other words an emblematic Violent Femmes song. Sensing a theme here? Like some of the Femmes’ other songs, this song of frustration and loss, etc., finds release in high-energy, raw catharsis. A very good song composed over simple chord changes and a chaotic bass-line.

I hope you enjoy the songs on this list. They may not be violent or particularly feminine, but don’t call them liars. Gordon Gano and band tell it like it is (or was). There is a truth and edginess to their music that is rarely seen in music today. The band that put the golden nail (or the cornerstone, whichever metaphor you prefer) into the bridge from rock to alternative is still touring and recording new music.

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