AlBedsitter's current selection is:
Not OK
by Violent Femmes
The Violent Femmes story lays under the shadow of their debut album.

Really the exact definition of a 'cult classic', it was already achieving that status when I first heard it. The Violent Femmes I was introduced to, had released '3', and were one of thousands of college rock or modern rock bands of the day. Fine, if not exceptionable.

That debut, though. Wow! So good of an album that a song as good as "Gone Daddy Gone" is down to fifth on the most streamed list.

The debut has only grown, to the point that it is mainstream. Yes, you would always find a redditor who'd quote "Kiss Off", but "Blister in the Sun" is a bonafide staple of modern music.

It's hard to think of a band that is a more unlikely success story. I can think of bands that have edged closer into mainstream consciousness like say, New Order or the Misfits, but for the realm of success, Violent Femmes seem the most unlikely.

Anyway, I heard good thing about the reunion, so I was happy to check it out. I don't remember who, and time flies so fast, they might have even been telling me about 2016's "We can do anything".

I can't help but thinking of this reunion without thinking of 1994's "reunion" New Times, which was really disappointing at that time.

Perhaps, of course, I was wrong, then. It came after 1991's "Why Do Birds Song"- an album that is probably better than a 5th record has a right to be.

Indeed, the band remakes "I'm Nothing" (from New Times) on this record, and it's fantastic with the new treatment.

Hotel Last Resort is a really enjoyable record. If you are someone who ponders over such stuff, you may want to know how good it is.

I think that it is indeed a good set of songs. Also, maybe we have underrated the Femmes over the years. Maybe all of their albums have been as good.

If you want to split hairs between 'great' and 'very good', you could. I will settle for the fact that it is an album that I can listen to over and over again.

The album feels more important than some, what with immediate Femmes classics like "Not OK" and "It's All or Nothing", fun romps like "Adam was a Man" and "Another Chorus", and a worthwhile title track that brings in Tom Verlaine.

Age has served Gano's voice well. While he likely won't grow to be an elder Leonard Cohen character (though, "Paris to Sleep" suggests the possibility), he does have a gravitas that comes with seniority (check out the closing "God Bless America"); and it is easy to see him becoming an unexpected Jonathan Richman like singer who can make great albums for many years to come (a conclusion that you have already arrived at, even before getting to the 99-second "Sleepin at the Meetin" singalong.)
2019 - PIAS
Posted: 21st November 2019
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