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The Blind Leading the Naked

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By employing Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison to produce their third album, the Violent Femmes found the most sensible way to approach the mainstream. After all, Talking Heads had managed the feat of crossing over from the minimalist new-wave ethos of their early work into a real-life pop band. The difficulty here was how to take the group’s acoustic punk-folk approach and Gordon Gano’s aching adenoidal vocals and turn them into something for the whole family. The opener, “Old Mother Reagan,” in thirty seconds already chose an aggressive side. From there, the power of the anti-war “No Killing” took care of a memorable hook. Horns were added to the band’s most accessible tune to date, “I Held Her In My Arms,” and the band unleashed a funk previously unheard with their cover of T. Rex’s “Children of the Revolution.” Elsewhere, the band could still be raw. “Breakin’ Hearts” is an old country tune with harmonies that slip and slide. “Candlelight Song” trips along with plenty of weird instrumentation. “Good Friend” punches up a catchy acoustic pop number that sounds like Lou Reed could’ve written it.


Formed: 1982 in Milwaukee, WI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The textbook American cult band of the 1980s, the Violent Femmes captured the essence of teen angst with remarkable precision; raw and jittery, the trio's music found little commercial success but nonetheless emerged as the soundtrack for the lives of troubled adolescents the world over. The group formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early '80s, and comprised singer/guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and percussionist Victor DeLorenzo. Ritchie originated the band's oxymoronic name, adopting...
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The Blind Leading the Naked, Violent Femmes
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