Here’s what J.K. Rowling says after listening to the Violent Femmes for the first time

JK Rowling reviews the Violent Femmes

So I put on the Violent Femmes and hear a catchy acoustic guitar riff and I think, this is great! I’m going to love them! I’ll get a Violent Femmes T-shirt, buy the entire back catalogue and bore everyone rigid with my new obsession!

But then the vocalist kicks in and I have an immediate, visceral response of ‘no, scratch everything, I hate this.’ The change of mood is so abrupt my mind goes blank. I try to analyse why I moved from appreciation to intense dislike in a matter of seconds, but the best I can do is ‘I’ve heard voices like that before.’

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The author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, reviewed the Violent Femmes’ 1983 self-titled debut for the blog Ruth and Martin’s Album Club. Somehow, she’d never heard it before (seriously, the album with Blister in the Sun and Gone Daddy Gone), and she vowed to listen to it three times.

After I’ve listened to the whole album once, I look down at the place where I was supposed to be making notes and all I’ve written is: ‘his upper register sounds like a bee in a plastic cup,’ which the professional writer in me recognizes as ‘not 500 words’. Feeling glum, I postpone a second listen to the following day.

By the time she was on listen No. 3, though, she seems to have realized that it’s damn good music from some young Wisconsin kids.

On the third listen, I realized that I loved the album. Before I knew it, I was listening to it over and over again. Only then did I let myself look at their Wikipedia page.

The Violent Femmes, I read, were ‘one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the 1980s, selling over 9 million albums by 2005.’ Yes, the Violent Femmes ended up in that whorehouse called success, and you know what? It only makes me love them more.

She ended up giving the album 8.5/10. Not bad marks for an album that’s 33 years old. Check out the full interview/post here.

Photo credit: Executive Office of the President.

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