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Freak Magnet

Violent Femmes Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details


1. Hollywood Is High
2. Freak Magnet
3. Sleepwalkin'
4. All I Want
5. New Generation
6. In The Dark
7. Rejoice And Be Happy
8. Mosh Pit
9. Forbidden
10. When You Died
11. At Your Feet
12. I Danced
13. I'm Bad
14. Happiness Is
15. A Story

Product Description

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Formed in the early 1980s, the Violent Femmes and their folky, quirky, acoustic-driven take on power pop gained them a reputation as the freakish cousins of the then-massive new-wave movement. It also gave them quite a huge following, especially after the success of their debut. Their formula was simple: Gordon Gano's adenoidal whine and offbeat lyrics coupled with Brian Ritchie's frenzied acoustic bass and a simple, stripped down drum kit. Almost two decades later, their formula really hasn't changed much; Freak Magnet couldn't really have been performed by anyone other than the Violent Femmes. Gordon Gano still knows how to write great pop songs, and "Hollywood Is High," "Sleepwalkin'," or "New Generation" could have easily appeared on any previous Violent Femmes release. Freak Magnet is not the sound of a band maturing or exploring a new sound or even expanding on an old one; rather, it's the sound of a band comfortably within its element. After the feeble effort of 1994's New Times, Freak Magnet is a fantastic return to form. --Robert Burrow

Product Description

Formed in the early 1980s, the Violent Femmes and their folky, quirky, acoustic-driven take on power pop gained them a reputation as the freakish cousins of the then-massive new-wave movement. It also gave them quite a huge following, especially after the success of their debut. Their formula was simple: Gordon Gano's adenoidal whine and offbeat lyrics coupled with Brian Ritchie's frenzied acoustic bass and a simple, stripped down drum kit. Columbia. 2005.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars talented musicians May 19 2003
By Burzie
Format:Audio CD
This is a response to a review 5 or so earlier... quote "VIOLENT FEMMES is a band most have not heard of, but should. Okay, so musically they're not really talented."
I'm sorry, this guy dont know jack-s**t. The guys are incredibly talented. Brian Richie on accoustic bass blows all & sundry away on his bass both on the studio albums and particularly live. He is a master bass player really like no other. Not a stretch to say he's the Jimi Hendrix of Bass. He's simply brilliant.
He's developed a style of playing bass like a lead guiter. Lead guitar breaks, but on Bass. Then he has figured out a way to play all 4 strings and create rythym chords on the bass too.An incredible fused bass sound unheard of.
Gordon Gano is equally nearly adept on guitar (when he chooses to be) and has a unique and great sounding voice.
now i'm not sure what the playing is like on this album as i have never heard it, but just listen to thier first 2 albums and you'll see what i mean
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4.0 out of 5 stars Femmes return with their wits about them. Nov. 15 2001
Format:Audio CD
I'm surprised by the mixed nature of the preceding reviews. I found this album, coming hot on the heels of the excellent live Viva Wisconsin to be an excellent effort. Any band that has produced as many good to great albums and as many brilliant songs as the Femmes is always going to be judged harshly against the exceptional quality of their earlier work. The Femmes first album is their blessing and curse. I am sure it is still being purchased in respectable quantities today, as new generations of fans first hear the timeless "Add it Up" or "Blister in the Sun." It wasn't until the release of Why Do Birds Sing that the Femmes finally got noticed by the population at large for the work that they were doing. Since then, American Music has only added to their Albatross. No one sounds like the Femmes, and no one else produces songs with the same quirky, ominous, genre blending virtuosity. Freak Magnet is the Violent Femmes at middle age. Sleepwalking, the first single, is as concise and poignant statement about life as a "rock and roll star" as I have ever heard, all set to a propulsive folk-punk beat. In fact, this undercurrent of alienations continues throughout the album. This is Femmes straight ahead and full out, with all the constituent folk rock weirdness firmly in place. This is a band that has never lacked for a distinctive voice and vision and Freak Magnet definitely lives up to it. I for one am just happy to have new Femmes music, much less an album this good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars kicking March 26 2000
Format:Audio CD
Releasing their first studio album in six years, the Violent Femmes have received mixed reviews. Comments have included progress, the punkish, cynical band still cranking out clever little ditties that are wearing thin after 15 years. Superficially, this may seem a correct analysis, but on deeper reflection, entirely wrong. VF's two previous releases, New Times, and, Why Do Birds Sing? are unrelated sounds, each its own genius, the maligned New Times a logical, intellectual sound extension, and also a filled-out, grown-up VF sound. Who else in the world could have written a catchy song about the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio? Freak Magnet has brushed away the complexity of adding to the New Times sound, an evolutionary dead-end, and made a switch as timely as U2's musical progress between Rattle & Hum and Achtung Baby. Freak Magnet reviewers have also been skewed by experience. None mention having seen the Femmes live, and this album is all about live; refer a welcome treat, Viva Wisconsin, released in the last 6 months. Freak Magnet is the cumulative output of 20 years plugged and unplugged, streetcorner, theater, stadium and studio. A writer's object is their so-called 'natural voice', not fancy college words getting in the way of communication, but a conversational voice best captured on a tape recorder. Freak Magnet is the VF Natural Voice, their musical Natural Voice, an album instantly translatable to the stage, the quick tempo of a busking-sound drum, their style, as distinctive as the wrong-end drumsticks of Pantera. Catch this music live and you will know conversion, and when it comes time to slow the show down, VF will perform bittersweet ballads up there w/ the best. U2 is rumored to be returning to their old sound- the Joshua Tree era- minus techno, can they as assuredly make the transition to their roots as the Violent Femmes?
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Format:Audio CD
Are Violent Femmes getting old and staying together just for the sake of the fans? Yes, obviously. Is their music suffering because of it? That's hard to tell. It is a fact that Freak Magnet, one of their newer albums is not as good as their classics, but on the other hand, the music is still excellent, just not AS excellent.

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. Honestly, the online-only album is better with its Rilke poems and pain-in-the-behind necessity for downloading.

I recommend Freak Magnet only if you have money to spare and have all the other VF albums already - it is not a must in a VF collection, although it's still pretty decent.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars femmes marketing
This is the femmes grown older but trying to keep up with the younger guys. Even the CD cover is cartoonish. Actually, I guess this trend started with the "Machine" CD. Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good for a "cult record"
VIOLENT FEMMES is a band most have not heard of, but should. Okay, so musically they're not really talented. That doesn't matter because you'll be cracking up! Read more
Published on March 18 2002 by Michael John Gariti
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Femmes but theres been better...
The album is amazing. Simply. In my opinion the big stand outs are Sleepwalkin', In The Dark, and Happiness Is. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2000 by "niladmirari"
3.0 out of 5 stars This is good
Ok, so I'm new to the Violent Femmes. I heard "Blister in the Sun" and loved it. So, when I heard they had a new album out, of course I bought it. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2000 by Fizzy: the real one
3.0 out of 5 stars Close, but not quite...
Unmistakably VF but whether or not classic or pure VF will depend on each fan's perspective. This is much better than New Times but falls short of the wonderful Why Do Birds Sing... Read more
Published on May 18 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars quality femmes music
This cd is filled with great upbeat songs. To the person who stated that the cd doesn't have any standout songs, I would challenge that. Read more
Published on May 10 2000 by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars The Femmes are back
Y2k hits and boom, Violent Femmes comes out with yet another great album. This album is great, much better than New Times(which is very weak. Read more
Published on March 29 2000 by Divide By Zero
5.0 out of 5 stars Yikes, what a cool album!
One of the best party albums I've heard. Although the second half of the album is a little less upbeat (and the last song is downright scary), all of the songs are strong. Read more
Published on March 29 2000 by Gnarly Dunebuggy
3.0 out of 5 stars Not their most inspired effort
I love the Femmes and consider them to be one of the best live bands I've seen (Viva Wisconsin is a must buy). Read more
Published on March 27 2000
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