Nearly 10 years after the Violent Femmes launched their career by capturing Chrissie Hynde’s attention in a street gig outside a Milwaukee theater, this peculiar acoustic trio is still mining the nervous depths of pubescent alienation with their unique brand of psycho-teenage folk rock. Together, Brian Ritchie’s weird druggy lead guitar-like bass and singer Gordon Gano’s high, whiny voice and mean-natured lyrics can effectively turn even the simplest upbeat three-chord rock song into a sicko paean to adolescent angst. In Why Do Birds Sing?, for instance, the single ”American Music” cleverly twists basic sing-along rock tunes into a nightmarish take on youthful bitterness. On the Femmes’ sinister cover version of Culture Club’s ”Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” Gano characteristically changes the original implied lover’s answer from ”no” to something like ”yes…so turnabout is fair play.” The Femmes themselves may be aging, but as long as they keep their tunes catchy and their lyrics twisted, their core audience will stay the same age — 14 and frustrated — forever. B+
Why Do Birds Sing?Nearly 10 years after the Violent Femmes launched their career by capturing Chrissie Hynde's attention in a street gig outside a Milwaukee theater, this...Why Do Birds Sing?RockNearly 10 years after the Violent Femmes launched their career by capturing Chrissie Hynde's attention in a street gig outside a Milwaukee theater, this...1991-05-31
Genre: Rock; Producer (group): Reprise Records, Slash
Posted January 17 2015 — 1:02 PM EST
- 'Kevin Hart: What Now?' and 'Barbershop 3' given 2016 release dates
- Fox cancels The Mindy Project
- 'Vampire Diaries': Julie Plec on how to make the perfect finale (when Nina Dobrev is leaving)
- 'Last Man Standing' replaces showrunner
- 'Survivor' fan-voted 'Second Chance' season: Jeff Probst explains it all
- 'Scandal': Will Mellie actually win the election?
- Free Comic Book Day: 15 superhero must-reads
- 'Pitch Perfect 2' costume designer's fashion notes
- Mourning after: Best TV episodes after a key character died
- NSYNC hair, revisited on 'It's Gonna Be May' meme day
- 'Outlander' sweats details so Lallybroch feels like home
- Chrissy & John, Reese Witherspoon, Charles Esten & More!