Violent Femmes Collection, ‘Add It Up (1981-1993),’ Available on Vinyl For The First Time Since Initial Limited Pressing

Violent Femmes Collection, ‘Add It Up (1981-1993),’ Available on Vinyl For The First Time Since Initial Limited Pressing

Craft Recordings

Offering fans more than just a compilation of hits, ‘Add It Up’ also spotlights Violent Femmes’ energetic live performances—captured at the height of their career

As Violent Femmes celebrate their 40th year together, Craft Recordings is pleased to honor the band’s enduring catalog of cult classics with the long out-of-print vinyl reissue of Add It Up (1981–1993). In stores May 21st and available for pre-order today, the popular 1993 collection will also make its return to digital and streaming platforms.

The 23-track compilation features Violent Femmes’ biggest hits, including “Blister in the Sun,” “American Music,” and “Gone Daddy Gone,” plus live recordings of favorites like “Add It Up,” and “Kiss Off,” alongside a trove of demos, B-sides, interstitial voice recordings, and rarities. Housed in a gatefold jacket, the 2-LP set was pressed at Memphis Records Pressing, with lacquers cut by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. In addition to the standard black 2-LP, a special “Blister Red Marble” edition will be available exclusively via the Violent Femmes and Craft Recordings webstores (limited 500 worldwide). Meanwhile, Indie Retailers will offer an exclusive “Aqua” pressing, and Urban Outfitters will offer a “Violet” variant.    

 Formed in 1981 by Gordon Gano (vocals, guitar), Brian Ritchie (bass), and Victor DeLorenzo (percussion), Violent Femmes caught the ears of America’s underground with their special blend of teenage angst, jittery folk-rock, and punk sensibilities. The Milwaukee group had their first big break later that year while busking outside of the city’s Oriental Theatre, where new wave stars The Pretenders were set to play that evening. The latter band’s guitarist, James Honeyman-Scott, took a liking to the young group and invited them on stage. A year later, New York Times music critic Robert Palmer wrote a glowing review of the band’s live show, comparing Gano to Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Jonathan Richman. Amid the growing buzz, Violent Femmes signed to legendary punk label Slash Records (home to The Germs, X, and The Blasters) and, in 1983, released their self-titled debut. 

Primarily written while Gano was still in high school, Violent Femmes would become the band’s most iconic album, with Gen X anthems like “Blister in the Sun,” “Please Do Not Go,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” and the urgent “Add It Up.” Although Violent Femmes failed to chart upon its release, it was a steady seller, eventually becoming the group’s most successful and critically lauded title. Nearly a decade later, it hit the Billboard 200 (landing at No.171 in 1991) and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

The band followed with 1984’s Hallowed Ground. While most material on Hallowed Ground is contemporaneous with the first album songs—all recorded by the Milwaukee-based producer and composer Mark Van Hecke—the tone of these songs was vastly different from their pop-forward predecessors. Instead, Hallowed Ground took an experimental turn and found Gano particularly inspired by his Christian upbringing. The band also incorporated country and American roots influences into songs like “Jesus Walking on the Water” and the unnerving “Country Death Song,” and added unexpected instrumentation into such tracks as “Black Girls,” which featured the avant-garde saxophonist, John Zorn. 

1986’s The Blind Leading the Naked found the band taking yet another sharp turn—this time towards both mainstream pop and avant-garde. Produced by the Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison, the album featured a variety of high-profile guests, including guitarist Leo Kottke, the Stooges’ Steve Mackay, and the acclaimed experimental artist, Fred Frith. Featuring the breakneck protest song “Old Mother Reagan” and the lively “I Held Her in My Arms,” The Blind Leading the Naked brought Violent Femmes wider commercial success—both at home (where it peaked at No.84 on the Billboard 200) and abroad (landing at No.81 in the UK and No.31 in Australia).

Following a brief hiatus, the trio reunited in 1989, returning to their stripped-down roots with the acoustic 3, which featured such jaunty tracks as “Lies” and “Nightmares.” Meanwhile, 1991’s Why Do Birds Sing?, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, marked the Femmes’ final album with DeLorenzo. Co-produced with Michael Beinhorn (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hole, Soundgarden), the LP included one of the group’s most commercially successful singles, “American Music,” which hit No.2 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart.

Add It Up (1981–1993) draws from these first five albums—documenting the trailblazing band’s stylistic development as they rose to become one of alt-rock’s most commercially-successful acts. Offering fans more than just a compilation of hits, Add It Up also spotlights Violent Femmes’ energetic live performances—captured at the height of their career. Additionally, nearly half of the collection is devoted to rarities, including demos, B-sides, and imports that were previously unavailable in the US, at the time of Add It Up’s release. These include “I Hate the TV,” “Gimme The Car,” and “Dance, M.F., Dance!

For the remainder of the ’90s, Violent Femmes continued to record new material, while their earliest songs remained in the zeitgeist, thanks to popular shows and films like My So-Called Life, Reality Bites, and Grosse Pointe Blank. After taking an extended hiatus in the late aughts, the band’s original members briefly reunited for a handful of live appearances, including a highly anticipated set at the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This led to extensive touring and one of the Femmes’ most productive recording eras, which yielded EP Happy New Year, full LP We Can Do Anything, and radical live double LP 2 Mics and the Truth (recorded at radio station sessions and in-store performances). Most recently, Gano, Ritchie, and newcomers John Sparrow and Blaise Garza released Violent Femmes’ tenth studio album, Hotel Last Resort, in 2019.

Add It Up (1981-1993) vinyl tracklist:

Side A:

  • Intro
  • Waiting for the Bus
  • Blister in the Sun
  • Gone Daddy Gone
  • Gordon’s Message
  • Gimme the Car
  •  Side B:

  • Country Death Song
  • Black Girls
  • Jesus Walking on Water
  • 36-24-36
  • I Held Her in My Arms
  •  

    Side C:

  • I Hate the TV
  • America Is
  • Old Mother Reagan
  • Degradation
  • Dance, M.F., Dance!
  • Lies (Live)
  • American Music
  • Out the Window
  •  

    Side D:

  • Kiss Off (Live)
  • Add It Up (Live)
  • Vancouver (Live)
  • Johnny (Live)
  •  

    Listen/order

     

    *Feature image credit: Francis Ford

     

     

     

    Hitplay – Our First Christmas lyrics

    (feat. Jojoho)

    The lights on the tree
    Don’t look different to me
    Until they reflect in your eyes

    The songs that I hear
    Are the same as last year
    But they touch me much deeper inside

    There’s a chill in the air
    A fire in my heart
    And my greatest gift
    Is hear in my arms

    It’s our (our) first (first) Christmas together
    One (one) We’ll (We’ll) always remember
    I wouldn’t mind, if we’re snowed in forever
    Girl on our (our first) first Christmas

    Reindeer and Elves
    And old silver bells
    Didn’t always ring true

    And now suddenly
    Its all magic to me
    And I think it’s all thanks to you

    There’s a star in the sky
    A sign from above
    What more could we ask for
    ‘Cause we’ve got our love

    And it’s our (our) first (first) Christmas together
    One (one) We’ll (We’ll) always remember
    I wouldn’t mind, if we’re snowed in forever
    Girl on our (our first) first Christmas

    [Spoken] Babe I just want you to know
    If I had nothing else in this world
    Just having you in my arms would be enough

    [Sung]There’s a chill in the air
    A fire in my heart
    My greatest gift is here in my arms

    It’s our (our) first (first) Christmas together
    One (one) We’ll (We’ll) always remember
    I wouldn’t mind, if we’re snowed in forever
    Girl on our (our first) first Christmas

    Its our first Christmas together
    Forever together

    Oh Merry Christmas Baby
    Happy New Year too
    Its our first Christmas

    Stamo Songz – Happy New Year lyrics

    [Intro]
    Yeah
    Happy New Year
    Hahahaha

    [Verse 1]
    I was shaking my head I was whipping my hairs
    The tables were dirty I got nothing in my pockets
    The ladies were twerking I came back with two
    In Johannesburg we the one of the best Giz
    My n!ggas are wealthy are rolling in Bentleys
    2.0.1.7 I enter with style
    Shout out to Dezry Kay shout out to Kayla
    Shout out to Cassper N shout out to Riky
    Shout out to Mouget shout out to DSA
    Shout out Oskido shout out Mabala Noise
    Shout out Mbombela shout out Ambitiouz Ent
    Inspiration from you its what I got
    2.0.1.7 Im in the big list
    I forgave I forgot thats why now Im blessed
    Follow my steps you gotta see what I got
    Im working so hard that is why now Im sweat
    These ladies got fire are playing with flames
    They rolling they rolling they turning my Giz on
    Just one more chance in the slot Iga pin
    Happy New Year my Giz I love you all

    [Chorus]
    We kicking you sixteen we greeting you seventeen thats why I say (Happy New Year)
    All of my dreams now are true and I swear this is my year (Happy New Year)
    Everything that I was doing last year, today I change (Happy New Year)
    Me and my homies we deserve this year, you on the list (Happy New Year)
    Everybody says (Happy New Year)
    And I also say (Happy New Year)
    In the church they say (Happy New Year)
    In the clubs they say (Happy New Year)
    Im changing my actions Im changing my lifestyle Im running away from sh!t
    My hands are up
    My eyes are closed
    I enter by force
    Im rapping, Im singing, Im making the beats, Im making the rands
    I have been boiling and boiling Im ripe and Im ripe you can eat when you loving me
    Everybody says (Happy New Year)
    And I also say (Happy New Year)
    In the church they say (Happy New Year)
    In the clubs they say (Happy New Year)

    [Verse 2]
    Rap G like you know though
    Run good like the god though
    Iga lift it but we four though
    Man I work hard like the god though
    I didnt get in by the window
    I got the new style Top Back Pondo
    I got a new girl (Happy New Year)
    Man we live life with no cash though
    Wiga break the glasses not the record
    Boss I got the words like an Oxford
    On my left arm I got the black code
    Cute owl with the small eyes
    Blue flies with the big dice
    10 stars with the prayer
    Pray God not a statue
    White gowns only blessings

    [Chorus]
    We kicking you sixteen we greeting you seventeen thats why I say (Happy New Year)
    All of my dreams now are true and I swear this is my year (Happy New Year)
    Everything that I was doing last year, today I change (Happy New Year)
    Me and my homies we deserve this year, you on the list (Happy New Year)
    Everybody says (Happy New Year)
    And I also say (Happy New Year)
    In the church they say (Happy New Year)
    In the clubs they say (Happy New Year)
    Im changing my actions Im changing my lifestyle Im running away from sh!t
    My hands are up
    My eyes are closed
    I enter by force
    Im rapping, Im singing, Im making the beats, Im making the rands
    I have been boiling and boiling Im ripe and Im ripe you can eat when you loving me
    Everybody says (Happy New Year)
    And I also say (Happy New Year)
    In the church they say (Happy New Year)
    In the clubs they say (Happy New Year)
    Im changing my actions Im changing my lifestyle Im running away from sh!t (Happy New Year)
    My hands are up
    My eyes are closed
    I enter by force (Happy New Year)

    [Outro]
    Yeah
    Hello twenty seventeen
    You are the year of success
    Year of achieving all our dreams
    Welcome twenty seventeen
    We love you so much
    Hahahaha
    Yeah, this is the year of corrections
    You welcome twenty seventeen.