The Violent Femmes, an American punk rock, finally released their new album:We Can Do Anything. It is their comeback since the last studio album Freak Magnet. The album has a strong mid-western feeling.
“Memory” has a melody with a light tripping rhythm. “I don’t remember the sound of your voice… Wish I could remember something you said.” This felt like Gano complained about his long-gone memory that he had with the girl he used to love. Instead of asking the girl to come back, he joked about how his growth with age affected everything. The rhythm is addictive and repetitive. This opening song leads to the overall theme and style of their album, to show the middle age annoyance through the catchy rock, lyric-oriented style.
“I Could Be Anything” is like a fairy tale that they dream. The lyrics are about a brave man who killed the dragon and celebrated its death with pride. It is a country feeling song, and the percussion sound stands out. It is also interesting that Gano starts the song with his high-pitched sound to the slight low pitch chorus with the other band members.
“Issues” starts with a few light and compelling pitches. It sounds like he is questioning the girl: “why do you talk about your issues all the time?” The lyrics are sometimes rhyming: “issue” and “tissue”. Gano still brings out his twitchy singing style through this song. It reminds me of the Mika’s voice who uses lots of turns. “Ghost” starts with some weird preaching. The lyrics show that the behavior and things happened are a mysterious like a holy ghost. The verses are fast-paced, and it gradually slows down in verse two. In this song, the bass and drums sound stands out.
“What You Really Means” is the song written by Gano’s half-sister Cynthia Gayneau. It adds a different flavor to the album that is romantic and sweet. They add a few measures of piano and saxophone in it that made a nice transition to the ending of the song.
“Foothills” is another witty song that has the same tone as “Memory.” It is telling that the person has no choice to fall in love in this age. He sings, “I can’t tell you why I am in love” when he is continuing with his normal life.
“Traveling Solves Everything” also has a similar pattern, as “I Could Be Anything.” It repeats the verse “If you have a problem, your life unravels.” It is about traveling and escaping from the problems of life. It keeps speeding up till the end of the song.
“Big Car” is a fun song describes a guy who takes a girl out driving on a rugged road which makes the girl uncomfortable. Before they get to the next town, he will bury the girl in the desert.
“Untrue Love” is a distorted love song: “my untrue love is true.” The lyrics are twisted since the guy hates to admit he loves the girl, and he struggles. Gano’s leisure sound following with the accompaniment of the other band members that feel the helplessness of these men.
“I Am Not Done” is the last song in this album. This a good corresponding title to the album title “We Can Do Anything.” The lyrics are about their attitudes toward the ups and downs of life and the broken-up relationship, etc. The rhythm is lively and fun.
Overall, it is classic alternative rock that I am not used to listening to, but it refreshes your mind if you always listen to mainstream music like pop or R&B. I like the wordplay that Gano uses. It has the sense of self-mocking while being witty and funny. Also, you can tell they sing about their relationship with Christianity, although it isn’t obvious but there’s a huge influence from it. “Memory,” and “Traveling Solves Anything” do a good job with lyric-writing. “Memory” is by far my favorite song on this album. It has a good transition from the main verse and the second verse, and the chorus is amazing in the end.
Listen to the full album below: