The Violent Femmes had a remarkable run of consistently solid albums starting with their breakthrough 1983 self-titled record up through 1991’s Why Do Birds Sing?, their remarkable fifth effort. In honor of the album’s 30th anniversary, Craft Recordings – like it did earlier this year with Add It Up, the band’s greatest hits package – is re-releasing this one on vinyl as well as on a double CD and digital format with previously unreleased outtakes and alternate takes of these songs. Long out of print, an original viny copy of this record is going for more than $150 online, so having this 180-gram 2 LP edition is a godsent for record collecting fans of these gloriously odd ball acoustic punks.
While the only single off this album to chart is the still-great “American Music,” (even today, a staple at just about every Violent Femmes show), there are a lot of fun songs on this one that don’t get nearly enough credit, including an endearingly goofy take on Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” (recorded long before every third wave ska and pop punk band felt the need to cover 1980s hits). “Girl Trouble,” with its warbling acapella intro is prime Gordon Gano and “Hey Nonny Nonny” was inexplicably left off of Add It Up – a big oversight after hearing this song again decades later. Why Do Birds Sing? would be the band’s final “great” album before they reformed again about 10 years ago and released the stellar, We Can Do Anything, in between were so mediocre records, occasionally hiding a few solid songs on them.
The 2-LP format includes the original track list and replica packaging. The band and label are also putting out a limited pressing on translucent red vinyl exclusively via the band’s website and CraftRecordings.com. Select indie record stores will offer a smoke-colored edition.