Violent Femmes Albums Ranked

Violent Femmes are an American folk-punk band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The band consists of singer, guitarist and songwriter Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, saxophonist, and keyboardist Blaise Garza, and drummer John Sparrow. Violent Femmes have released ten studio albums and 15 singles during the course of their career. The band found immediate success with the release of their self-titled debut album in early 1983. Featuring many of their well-known songs, including “Blister in the Sun”, “Kiss Off”, “Add It Up” and “Gone Daddy Gone”, Violent Femmes became the band’s biggest-selling album and was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA. Violent Femmes went on to become one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the 1980s, selling more than 9 million albums by 2005. After the release of their third album The Blind Leading the Naked (1986), the band’s future was uncertain and they split up in 1987 when Gano and Ritchie went solo. However, they regrouped a year later, releasing the album 3 (1989). Here are all of Violent Femmes albums ranked.

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10. We Can Do Anything (2016)

“This album not only surprised me on how much they have stayed true to their original beginnings but I can’t stop listening to side two over and over. As good as, if not better than, Why Do Birds Sing but deserves the loving attention their 1st album got. It’s not over produced like almost every band ends up doing after they have made their mark and thus lose the original charm that makes us love them. It’s great.”

9. Viva Wisconsin (Live) (1999)

“This live concert (which does sound great for a live performance, by the way) is truly my favorite VF album because it basically incorporates all of their best songs, from Blister In the Sun, Add it Up, and Kiss Off to American Music and I’m Nothing. This CD also features more from Hallowed Ground than does the Add it Up compilation; the title track from Hallowed Ground is a soulful, powerful song too often overlooked. There are eight classic songs from the band’s career-defining first album, and they sound as fresh and defiant now as they ever did.”

8. New Times (1994)

“New Times shows a maturing Femmes stretching out musically. The songs are diverse in style and construction, running a gamut from Gano’s solo guitar and voice on “I’m Nothing” to the intense pacing on “I Saw You In The Crowd” to the hilarious electronic experiment “Machine” and the completely unusual “Jesus of Rio.” I’m particularly fond of the moral angst and melancholy of “This Island Life.” Somehow it all works. Honestly, it took me quite a while to fully appreciate this record. At first listen, I didn’t like it very much at all. But it’s really grown on me to the point where I consider it easily the best of their post-Hallowed Ground records. I could live without hearing the one song some reviewers here seem to live best, “Don’t Start Me On The Liquor,” but the rest of New Times has become essential music in my collection.”

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7. Freak Magnet (2000)

“Freak Magnet tends to appeal to a newer generation of fans, more jumpy and less weird. Personally, this album is not one of my VF favorites, but as a VF fan, I still have it and listen to it occasionally. The album is amazing. Simply. In my opinion the big stand outs are Sleepwalking’, In The Dark, and Happiness Is. The title track is a fun lively song but Sleepwalkin’ has that lyrical hook, like so many other Femme songs, that make you instantly love it.

6. Add It Up (1981-1993) (1993)

“Add It Up is a compilation album, containing a number of songs available elsewhere alongside some amazing tracks you can’t find anywhere else. Much of this material draws from the band’s early days. Pre released tracks include Blister in the Sun, Gone Daddy Gone, and Gimme the Car from the incredible self-titled debut album, the unique and unforgettable Country Death Song, Black Girls, and Jesus Walking on the Water from Hallowed Ground, Old Mother Reagan from The Blind Leading the Naked, and American Music and Out the Window from Why Do Birds Sing? Add it up, and you will find eleven previously unreleased tracks, two tracks previously unreleased in the U.S., and four live performances unavailable elsewhere.”

5. Why Do Birds Sing? (1991)

“The whole album is rather cathartic, with the final track, I’m Free, basically summing up the effect of this music on the listener. More Money Tonight is a little celebration of revenge, as lead singer Gordon Gano taunts all the people who laughed at him in the past, proclaiming he can make more money tonight than they can even dream of. One of my favorite VF songs of all time is He Likes Me. Don’t get the wrong idea about this one-the “he” Gano is talking about is “her” new man. Anyone who has been forced to be nice to the guy dating the girl you are crazy about will have no trouble relating to these lyrics.”

See more: The Band Albums Ranked

4. 3 (1989)

“This is an amazing album as long as you approach it on it’s on terms. I can see how it might have been disappointing after the first two records because it’s almost completely devoid of punk influences. However, it’s dark, naked, acoustic, and beautiful. The songs are great, the performances are great, and the production is great. For once Gordon’s performance sounds genuine and not just a quirky affectation. I think the two ballads get a bit melodramatic, but other than that, this CD is very, very good and definitely not “for completists only”

3. The Blind Leading The Naked (1986)

“The Blind Leading the Naked, the third album from the Violent Femmes, has never received the attention and acclaim it deserves. It has its own sound and identity; moving away from the brash, angst-ridden testimonials of the group’s early days toward a softer, sometimes mellow sound. Love & Me Make Three, World Without Mercy, Candlelight Song, Two People, and Good Friend are rather somber and sometimes soothing. Of course, Gordon Gano can only be mellow for so long. Old Mother Reagan provides a quick and furious introduction to the album, and this initial energy carries over into the first third of the tracks. No Killing is great, and Faith follows up on the sort of driving religious track introduced on the Hallowed Ground album.”

2. Hallowed Ground (1984)

“This album is very dark and dreary. The songs range about throwing your daughter in the well and then killing yourself, keeping a secret or else you will get cut up, and getting buried. There are some happy cheerful songs like Jesus Walking on the Water, It’s Gonna Rain, and a humorous song Black Girls. Don’t get me wrong I love all of these songs. Especially the one about keeping the secret or getting cut up which is called Never Tell. I love this album and you should get it.”

1. Violent Femmes (1983)

“The Violent Femmes’ 1983 self-titled debut is one of the most groundbreaking, important, influential, and enjoyable albums ever released, a musical testament that speaks to all dispossessed souls then, now, and probably forever. Teenagers were particularly drawn to this music in the band’s early years, at least those who were fortunate enough to learn of these extraordinary three guys from Milwaukee. I will always associate my angst-filled teen years with groups such as the Violent Femmes, The Cure, and The Smiths because these guys seemed to relate to my own anxieties and frustrations in a way no one around me possibly could. This quirky, uniquely acoustic music has always spoken to those who feel set apart from those around them, who ask questions that no one else asks, and wonder why no one understands them.”