Name of Article: Femmes Fatale: "Why Do Birds Sing?": the Violent Femmes won't tell
Author: Juliana Verdone
Magazine: ?
Date: ?1991?
Page(s): ?
Contributor: Anonymous

Femmes Fatale

"Why Do Birds Sing?": the Violent Femmes won't tell

Slash/Reprise

Just about the time one band to many has done its ode to Manchester, its groovy 70s anthem, or an unimaginative Dylan cover, the Violent Femmes come along with no particular formula, just that we-laugh-at-ourselves-and-we-can-laugh-at-you-too mentality. Whats surprising is just how goofy this album is, even by Femmes standards. The songs on Why Do Birds Sing? don't line up in columns of what misses; instead, it's more like which ones will you still respect in the morning? "Out the Window" makes the A list, an unflinching look at life on and off the ledge, as does the single "American Music," which skewess rock and roll cliches and chomps on them for breakfast. Rarely have two syllables dripped with as much as irony as singer Gordon Gano's "baby." "He Likes Me" has luscious sarcasm as well, with a guy telling his ex how thrilled he is that he has the approval of her new beau ("isn't that swell?"). Nice moves by Brian Ritchie on acoustic bass here too. But "Girl Trouble, " so funny the first time, isn't startling again and again. Neither is a cover of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," a great idea that loses its edge once the element of surprise is gone. Though the album bogs down in the middle, it ends with the slinky Talking Heads-y "More Money Tonight" and "I'm Free," no relation to the Soup Dragons or the Stones, thank you.