Violent Femmes (album)

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Violent Femmes
Violent Femmes.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 13, 1983
RecordedJuly 1982; August 31–September 1, 1983 (Tracks 11–12)
StudioCastle Studios in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; Music Works Studios in London (Tracks 11–12)
ProducerMark Van Hecke
Violent Femmes chronology
Violent Femmes
Hallowed Ground

Violent Femmes is the debut album by Violent Femmes. Mostly recorded in July 1982, the album was released by Slash Records on vinyl and on cassette in April 13, 1983,[1][2] and on CD in 1987[3][4] with two extra tracks "Ugly" and "Gimme the Car".

In 2002, Rhino Records remastered the album, filled out the disc's length with demos, and added another disc of live tracks and a radio interview for a 20th anniversary special edition, with liner notes by Michael Azerrad.

Violent Femmes is the band's most successful album to date and achieved a rare feat by going gold, four years after its release, and later platinum, four years after that, without having yet made an appearance on the Billboard 200 album chart. After achieving platinum certification on February 1, 1991, the album finally entered the Billboard album chart for the first time on August 3, 1991. Since Nielsen Music began electronically tracking sales in 1991, the album has sold 1.8 million copies. (Blending RIAA certifications and Nielsen Music sales data, one could estimate the album has sold about 3 million in the U.S.) [5]

Slant Magazine listed the album at #21 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[6] and was ranked number 974 in All-Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd. edition, 2000) [7].


Most of the songs on both this album and its follow-up were written when the songwriter, Gordon Gano, was 18 years old and still in high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[8] Violent Femmes peaked at #171 on Billboard's Top 200 album chart in 1991. [9] The cover model was Billie Jo Campbell, a 3-year-old who was walking down a street in California when she and her mother were approached and offered $100 for the photograph which became the album cover.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[10]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[11]
Q4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[15]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[16]
Uncut4/5 stars[17]
The Village VoiceB+[18]

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, J. D. Considine wrote that Violent Femmes was precocious yet dynamic, with a good balance between Gano's direct lyrics and the full sound of the music.[14] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice compared Gano and the album as a whole to Jonathan Richman of The Modern Lovers.[18] Gano himself grew tired of comparisons to Richman, as by his own account he was actually trying to sound like Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate.[19]

In a retrospective write-up for AllMusic, Steve Huey called Violent Femmes "one of the most distinctive records of the early alternative movement and an enduring cult classic", noting that "the music also owes something to the Modern Lovers' minimalism, but powered by Brian Ritchie's busy acoustic bass riffing and the urgency and wild abandon of punk rock, the Femmes forged a sound all their own", while crediting Gano for keeping "the music engaging and compelling without overindulging in his seemingly willful naiveté".[10]

The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Gordon Gano, except where noted.

Side one
1."Blister in the Sun"2:25
2."Kiss Off"2:56
3."Please Do Not Go"4:15
4."Add It Up"4:44
Side two
6."Prove My Love" 2:39
7."Promise" 2:49
8."To the Kill" 4:01
9."Gone Daddy Gone"Gano, Willie Dixon3:06
10."Good Feeling" 3:52


Violent Femmes
Additional personnel



Chart Entry
Weeks charted
ARIA Charts[21] January 27, 1986 34 32
The Billboard 200[22] August 3, 1991 171 7


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[23] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  2. ^ "The Billboard Book of Gold & Platinum Records," 1989
  3. ^ Steve Huey (1982-07-04). "Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  4. ^ "The Compact Disc Connection Database : WAR23845 * $11.79 VIOLENT FEMMES VIOLENT FEMMES WARNER BROTHERS 07/87 :44". Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  5. ^ Caulfield, Keith. "Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Loretta Lynn Earns Her Highest Charting Album Ever With 'Full Circle'". Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  6. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s | Feature". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  7. ^ "Rocklist". Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  8. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Hallowed Ground - Violent Femmes | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  9. ^ "Violent Femmes". Billboard. 1994-06-04. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  10. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes". AllMusic. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  11. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  12. ^ Hyden, Steven (May 21, 2017). "Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  13. ^ "Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes". Q (194): 130. September 2002.
  14. ^ a b Considine, J. D. (June 23, 1983). "Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  15. ^ Coleman, Mark; Sisario, Ben (2004). "Violent Femmes". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 852. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  16. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  17. ^ "Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes". Uncut (64): 122–23. September 2002.
  18. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (May 31, 1983). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  19. ^ Lloyd, Robert (May 20, 1983). "Violent Femmes". LA Weekly. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  20. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  21. ^ Kent, David (compiler); Australian Chart Book 1970–1992: 23 Years of Hit Singles and Albums from the Top 100 Charts; p. 330 ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5
  22. ^ Whitburn, Joel; Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Albums, 1955–1996; p. 819. ISBN 0-89820-117-9
  23. ^ "American album certifications – Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]