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New Times

3.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 8.13
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra
  • Run Time: 50.00 minutes
  • ASIN: B000002HEG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,035 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Violent Femmes ~ New Times

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
New Times is an entirely appropriate title for this most eclectic of albums from a most eclectic band. The Violent Femmes have changed quite visibly with the exit of Victor DeLorenzo and the entrance of Guy Hoffman on drums. I'll admit it took a few listens for this CD to really start appealing to me. There is a lot of experimental stuff going on here, with individual songs sometimes going off in about three distinct directions over the course of four or five minutes. The overall sound is markedly different in several places from what the Violent Femmes had done up to this point, with drums and deep bass beats often giving rise to a substantive, weighty atmosphere of surrealism and implicit melancholia. The guys have long played around with unique musical jam sessions of high strangeness, but they really indulge themselves on New Times. A number of instruments I haven't even heard of (e.g., noseflute, tranceaphone, theremin, baglama) figure large in the music. Several songs end with extended periods of cacophonous orgies of sound, but the most unusual of all selections is the song Machine. Here, Gano recites unusual lyrics about building a machine to take over the world while something akin to electronic synthesizers pushes the song along; much more than throwaway experimentation, Machine does offer a serious message roiling around in its deep undercurrents of frustration. Agamemnon is another unusual song, ending with Gano literally shouting in the background.
There really are some great songs included on this CD. Don't Start Me on the Liquor is a typically fun Violent Femmes opening number. New Times, Breakin' Up, and 4 Seasons have a modernized yet vintage Femmes sound to them. I'm Nothin' is spectacular, foregoing everything except Gano's voice and guitar in its presentation.
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Format: Audio CD
Actually, I give it three and three-quarters stars!
For some reason the personalities of the Violent Femmes band members are produced right out of this album. What you have left is a collection of Femmes' songs without the character of the band members. You get the ingeniously sloppy instrumentation and witty and wonderful lyrics but you don't get them! It's like the Femmes with very little of their soul--which is why "Machine" may be an appropriate title for this collection. It is indeed the Violent Femmes Machine at work again. But where are the guys? The songs hold up alright individually, but as the album lacks the presence of the members and no central theme to hold the songs together, listener fatigue becomes a factor.
"Don't Start Me on the Liquor" is a masterful, classic full-power old-time-blues-influenced tune which, after being cranked up about ten times, stays inside you forever.
"New Times" starts "Good morning. Good morning" and as it is the title cut, I can't understand why it doesn't begin the album. Did they think "Don't Start Me on the Liquor" was going to be a hit single? Great lyrics about modern life and lots of shifts of direction. They even sound like "Yes" in the jam!
"Breaking Up" didn't sustain my interest for many listenings. Vocals are interesting and the band really cuts loose in the middle, but somehow the song just lost steam for me.
"Key of 2" retained my interest, though. A great rocker set in a prison about a prison band...
"4 Seasons" sounds like a throw-away tune brought back to life. The Femmes using a sound effector to create the guitar's sound is apparent on this track, adding to the "Machine" feel.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is unquestionably the strangest album that the Femmes have made. In some ways, it is also one of the best. Any expectations must be thrown out of the window if you want to listen to this album. Forget melody, forget lyrics, forget everything that came before. This album is a masterpiece in fun. They obviously went into the studio and said, "What can we do that we've never done before?" The result is a wonderful blend of electronica, acoustic instruments, obscure references, and songs that make you think about the world. "Don't Start Me on the Liquor" begins the album and sets the thrashing tone that follows on many of the tracks. "Machine" is a stand-out track for its sheer simplicity of idea - who wouldn't want to take over the world? "Mirror Mirror" combines sound that hasn't been present in earlier Femmes' works - eastern European folk music. The combination of all of the influences on this album makes it a must-have. Though it doesn't typify the Femmes' sound at all, it makes an incredible diversion.
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Format: Audio CD
As a huge Femmes fan, i, of course, wanted to have every CD from their catalogue, but i was always a little scared about 'New Times'--there's not much to be found about it, and there was always a used copy of it at the CD store where i worked. Never a good sign . . . but, what the hell, i had to hear it . . . and, boy was i . . . i guess surprised. The Femmes are known to be a stripped-down acoustic trio, but on 'New Times,' they experiment with <gasp> electronica and melodic variences that would make Beck stop and stare. The first few songs are typical Femmish: "Don't Start Me On the Liquor" to "4 Seasons" have some great Femmes moments, even though their intros may sometimes sound a little contrived . . . then "Machine" hits. For all you Soul Coughing fans (like me), this'll be a favorite. For anyone else . . . well, give it a couple shots, it's a really cool track of techno-distortion and by far, one of the most disturbing Femmes songs out . . . god bless 'em! The rest of the songs are good, as well--indeed, they're almost more mellow than usual (a la "Good Feeling")--but the overall atmosphere of the album takes a little getting used to. I do recommend it, though, even just to hear "Jesus of Rio," "Mirror Mirror," and "Machine." Those songs sure are good, man, and they reflect quite a complex side of the Femmes even the most dissecting music fan could appreciate.
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