Aside from the Milwaukee trio's 1981 debut, the Violent Femmes have made a career of tacking one or two great songs onto otherwise mediocre albums--so this 1993 best-of is perfect for consumers. It has all the good stuff, from the retro radio hour staples "Blister in the Sun" and "Gone Daddy Gone," plus the creepy murder-suicide story "Country Death Song," the should've-been-a-hit "American Music" and ephemera like live versions of "Add It Up" and "Kiss Off." With Gordon Gano's never-aging teen whine and a crack rhythm section, the Femmes have had brief moments as America's best rock & roll band. This collection captures some of them. --Steve Knopper
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(ChasSand) from WASHINGTON, DC
Reviewed on 10/29/2014...
Violent Femmes rule. The first album is a better place to start, but otherwise, this one is pretty damn good. There is sooooo much more than Blister in the Sun, which I wish I'd have known ten years ago. This particular album has some strange b-sides and live stuff, but it all comes together to give a great picture of the energy, talent, and sincerity that Violent Femmes have in droves.
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Best of Violent Femmes?
Zen Station | The Graceful Swans of Never | 10/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You know what's interesting about this compilation is that while usually this sort of thing is used for people to "sell" new fans to the band, this "best of" seems more geared towards people who are already fans of the Violent Femmes. For one thing, the main versions are not always used in favor on here. For instance, "I Held Her in My Arms" and "Lies" appear in different versions than what are on "Blind" and "3." Also, the debut classics "Add It Up" (an old B-side on an import single) and "Kiss Off" are in live versions, in favor of the original. These are both good in their own right, but it seems somewhat enigmatic to introduce casual fans that way. Also, the fact that three of these "tracks" are more or less more spoken messages than actual songs. Not only that, but "Nightmares" was a genuine college radio hit and was omitted, although so was "Children of the Revolution," although maybe I'd understand excluding a T. Rex cover. Not because it's not the greatest, but to include more original VF material.
Some of that is great. There's the early demo recording of "Waiting on the Bus" as well as later fare like "I Hate the TV", "36-24-36" and "Dance, M.F., Dance," a cover from an obscure Milwakee band.
That being said, some of this is for unexperienced Femmes fans. "American Music" is possibly their most famous non-debut song and arguably the one that was most successful in its time. "Blister in the Sun" and "Gone Daddy Gone" are classics and are good introductions to the band as well. Then there's the more surprising stuff like the free jazz of "Black Girls" and others. It is mostly pretty good, even if some selections are lighweight curiosities. With this in mind, I suggest you try the band's debut and, if you like this variety, its follow-up, "Hallowed Ground" (which has "Black Girls", "Jesus...", and "CDS.")
But if you're a casual fan and want a more conventional approach you may want to check out "Debacle" or its sequel, "Permanent Record", which represents three albums and a soundtrack song that came out after this release."
Add It Up (1981-1993)
Morton | Colorado | 06/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Violent Femmes-Add It Up (1981-1993)*****
As far as greatest hits packages go this is something special. While most are aimed at new fans to a group or artist or just the casual fan who really only wants the radio singles, this is aimed at the bands true fans. Something they can have in the car while they keep the rest of the albums at home for serious enjoyment. For that I applaud the Femmes for truly being amazing.
Covering the most popular songs from the band like the whinny 'Blister In The Sun' and the rolicky 'Gone Daddy Gone' '36-24-36' and a live version of 'Kiss Off.' But also included is 'Add It Up' 'Country Death Song' and the slapstick 'Dance M.F. Dance.'
Add It Up basically has the bands entire career covered and does a fantastic job of even adding numerous new tracks to the fold. Add It Up is essential even if you own all their albums, that's how good it is."