I first caught wind of the Violent Femmes six years after the release of their debut album, at the tender age of 14. Followed in quick succession by Hallowed Ground and 3, the Violent Femmes’ self titled album speaks to a younger audience, with the consequent albums addressing more grown up subject matters. Each of the ten songs on the album can hold their own, with many having been covered through the decades by artists like Gnarls Barkley and The Dandy Warhols to name but a couple.
The album’s rebellious folk-punk sound immediately pushed all of my revolutionary teenage angst buttons. Telling stories of chasing girls, generational tensions, and awkwardness of sexual rejection, the Violent Femmes quickly became the go to band in my circle of friends.
Although the lyrics are more subtle in nature than many of their punk contemporaries, listening to the album now in my bourgeois middle-age existence brings memories of careless summers, discovering life through experimentation and sticking two fingers up to what was socially acceptable flooding back. Whenever I feel blue, I put the album on, start adding it up, and immediately remember that nothing is truly important and maybe I should sell all my stuff and start chasing that dream.
Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes, 1983, chosen by photographer Gunnar Mallon