Violent Femmes is the debut album by Violent Femmes. Mostly recorded in July 1982, the album was released by Slash Records on vinyl and on cassette in April 1983, and on CD in 1987 with two extra tracks "Ugly" and "Gimme the Car". Violent Femmes is the band's most successful album to date and went platinum eight years after its release. The album achieved what is believed to be a unique feat by going gold, four years after its release, without having yet made an appearance on Billboard's Top 200 album chart. Slant Magazine listed the album at #21 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".
Import-only five CD set from the Alt-Rock trio contains a quintet of their original non-remastered albums packaged in replica cardboard sleeves. Box set includes: "Violent Femmes" (1983); "Hallowed Ground" (1984); "The Blind Leading the Naked" (1986); "3" (1989); "Why Do Birds Sing?" (1991).
Add It Up is not quite the definitive Violent Femmes compilation one might hope for, even if it does feature 23 tracks and adds essential later items missing from their first comp, Debacle: The First Decade. There are several charming rarities to hook dedicated fans, who will likely find several favorites missing (perhaps another song or two could have been substituted for the between-song bits). The group's self-titled debut does a better job of encapsulating why they were important, and remains the first Femmes album to buy; besides, no compilation that includes live versions of "Kiss Off" and "Add It Up" in place of the original studio cuts can claim to be definitive. However, even casual fans who enjoyed Violent Femmes will find post-debut songs like "American Music" and "I Held Her in My Arms" to be essential, so even if Add It Up is a little too imperfect to be a necessary first purchase, it's definitely a necessary second purchase. Unless you're a die-hard fan, it will likely be the only other Violent Femmes disc you'll need.
The 17 selections on this disc represent the earliest recordings by one of the most important and definitive jazz combos in history. These are interesting because Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond on alto sax had established the basic sound long before bassist Gene Wright and drummer Joe Morello would join them for the 'classic quartet' era. One other thing that is interesting is even though recording technology was relatively crude in the very early 1950s the sound quality on this album is more than acceptable.