Short Sharp Shocked

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Short Sharp Shocked
Short Sharp Shocked (Michelle Shocked album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by Michelle Shocked
Released August 15, 1988 (1988-08-15)
Recorded 1988 (1988), Capitol Studio B, Hollywood, Larrabee Sound, Los Angeles, Sound Castle, Los Angeles
Genre Rock
Length 36:27
Label Mercury Records
Mighty Sound(2003 Reissue)
Producer Pete Anderson
Michelle Shocked chronology
The Texas Campfire Tapes
Short Sharp Shocked
Captain Swing
Singles from Short Sharp Shocked
  1. "Anchorage"
    Released: 1988
  2. "If Love Was a Train"
    Released: December 19, 1988
  3. "When I Grow Up"
    Released: 1989
2003 Reissue Cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Q 4/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau A−[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]

Short Sharp Shocked is the second album by Michelle Shocked. Originally released in 1988, it was remastered and reissued in 2003 as a two-CD set by Shocked's own label, Mighty Sound. The title is a combination of her last name, and the behavioral science phrase short, sharp shock, meaning "punishment that is quick and severe." [5] The record title and cover image is similar to that of the 1984 Chaos U.K. album Short Sharp Shock.

The photograph of Shocked that appears on the cover was taken by Chris Hardy of the San Francisco Examiner at a protest in San Francisco during the 1984 Democratic National Convention. The 2003 re-issue de-contextualized the original photograph by closely cropping it to Shocked's face.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Michelle Shocked except as noted. The final track is a remake of 'Fogtown', originally from The Texas Campfire Tapes, with punk band MDC. It wasn't listed on the sleeve or disc as Shocked "wanted it to surprise people".[6]

  1. "When I Grow Up" – 3:34
  2. "Hello Hopeville" – 2:55
  3. "Memories of East Texas" – 3:35
  4. "(Making the Run to) Gladewater" – 3:05
  5. "Graffiti Limbo" – 3:39
  6. "If Love Was a Train" – 4:07
  7. "Anchorage" – 3:24
  8. "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore" (Jean Ritchie) – 4:10
  9. "V.F.D." – 2:49
  10. "Black Widow" – 2:44
  11. "Fogtown" – 2:25 ("hidden" track)

The 2003 re-issue included a second disc of radio sessions, live recordings and studio out-takes:

  1. When I Grow Up (demo)
  2. Memories of East Texas (live)
  3. Yamboree Queen (live)
  4. Strawberry Jam (live)
  5. Graffiti Limbo (demo)
  6. If Love Was a Train (alt)
  7. Anchorage (radio)
  8. The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore (alt)
  9. V.F.D. (live)
  10. Black Widow (alt)
  11. Leaving Louisiana in Broad Daylight (radio)
  12. Disoriented (UK single)
  13. Lovely Rita (UK compilation)
  14. The Ballad of Penny Evans (live)
  15. Remodeling the Pentagon (live)
  16. Fred's Winter Song (radio)
  17. Prince of Darkness (with Mekons)
  18. One Piece at a Time (UK compilation)
  19. 5am in Amsterdam (live)
  20. Campus Crusade (live)
  21. Goodnight Irene (live)


Technical personnel[edit]

  • Pete Anderson – arrangements
  • Peter Doell – engineer (Capitol Studio B)
  • Leslie Anne Jones – additional Engineering
  • David Leonard – mixing engineer (Larribee Sound)
  • Andy Batwinds – second engineer
  • Bobby Lacivita – second engineer (Sound Castle)
  • Eddy Schreyer - mastering engineer (Capitol Studios)
  • Michael Dumds - production assistant


Q' magazine's Robert Sandall wrote: "Where this album hits hardest is in the playful unpredictability of [Pete] Anderson and Shocked's arrangements," observed . "'When I Grow Up'… introduces a jazzy, acoustic bass shuffle, then starts bouncing miscellaneous sound inserts around beneath the vocal. From here, it's pretty much all stops to the thrash metal finale at the end of side two."[7] Including the album in its best-of-the-year round-up, Q wrote, "Her excellent band revels in every opportunity she gives to cut loose and take chances, which heightens the spontaneous feel of her raggedy vocals. Second albums can often be a disappointment, but this is a firecracker."[8]



Year Chart Peak
1988 The Billboard 200 73 [9]


Year Song Chart Peak
1988 "Anchorage" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 16 [10]
1988 "Anchorage" Billboard Hot 100 66 [10]
1988 "If Love Was a Train" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 33 [10]
1988 "If Love Was a Train" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 20 [10]
1989 "When I Grow Up" UK Singles Chart 67[11]