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Why Do Birds Sing?

Violent Femmes Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 April 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise
  • ASIN: B000002LNZ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 431,566 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. American Music 3:500.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Out The Window 2:510.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Look Like That 2:450.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me 4:490.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Hey Nonny Nonny 4:340.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Used To Be 3:360.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Girl Trouble 2:580.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. He Likes Me 3:070.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Life Is A Scream 1:530.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Flamingo Baby 2:370.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Lack Of Knowledge 1:530.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. More Money Tonight 3:590.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. I'm Free 3:250.79  Buy MP3 


Product Description

Violent Femmes ~ Why Do Birds Sing? (Us Version)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you like American music? 28 Nov 2002
By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
1991's Why Do Birds Sing?, the Violent Femmes' fifth album, has never received the acclaim it deserves. Only the trio's first album is more consistently enjoyable. This album does not have the raw passion of the Femmes' earliest music, but it showcases the kind of quirky, unique sound that defines this eccentric band. American Music really should have been a hit, featuring the kind of pop sound that should appeal to a mainstream audience that, to a significant degree, doesn't even know this group exists. Out the Window, Look Like That, Used to Be, and Girl Trouble are toe-tappers easy and fun to sing along with. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me is a classic; don't worry about this being a Culture Club cover because its delivery is so uniquely Femmes that it took me a while to even realize the original source of the song. Hey Nonny Nonny and Flamingo Baby are just fun, somewhat nonsensical tracks. Life is a Scream is, ahem, a real scream, providing the listener with a great outlet for releasing any pent-up frustrations of his/her own. The whole album is rather cathartic, with the final track, I'm Free, basically summing up the effect of this music on the listener.
More Money Tonight is a little celebration of revenge, as lead singer Gordon Gano taunts all the people who laughed at him in the past, proclaiming he can make more money tonight than they can even dream of. One of my favorite VF songs of all time is He Likes Me. Don't get the wrong idea about this one-the "he" Gano is talking about is "her" new man. Anyone who has been forced to be nice to the guy dating the girl you are crazy about will have no trouble relating to these lyrics.
This is probably the Violent Femmes' most mainstream album; there is definitely a pop sound to most of the music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Femmes return with a gem 7 April 2009
By 9ftneil VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
After a three year hiatus the Femmes returned with yet another fantastic album featuring some of their very best songs - the infectious rave-up of 'American Music', their funniest ever song 'Out The Window', the haunting 'Used To Be' one of their finest ballads, a left field twist with a medieval folk homage 'Hey Nonny Nonny', and a wonderful cover of Culture Club's 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me' that seems an odd choice but one which the Femmes really make their own. 'Birds' would also be the last album to feature original drummer/vocalist Victor DeLorenzo and for many Femmes fans the break up of the original trio marked the end of the band as a truly creative force, with following albums failing to live up to the highs of the band's first decade. Nonetheless this is a fine album full of wit, satire, melodies, melancholy and life affirming music from one of America's finest alt-rock bands.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love em 18 July 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Brings back memories. Music that is different in a good way and its not the norm. As a teen I could relate to the songs.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not a bad effort 2 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
"Why Do Birds Sing" was the Violent Femmes second album and in my opinion despite the fact that the album is 10 years old, it sees the band at the height of their powers. The lyrics are very satirical and arrogant, where the band state in no uncertain terms that they are greater than their audience as the track "More Money Tonight" states that we are better than you cause I'll make more money tonight than you'll ever dream of. The tongue and cheek style of the album continues with their cover of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me", with the ban taking the mickey out of the eighties pop combo. The bands style is really a slightly harder version of they might be Giants and although it's not musically their hardest album, it's definitely both musically and lyrically their most accomplished, with "Look Like That " and "American Music" being two of the best tracks the band has ever recorded.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you like American music? 9 Nov 2002
By Daniel Jolley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
1991's Why Do Birds Sing?, the Violent Femmes' fifth album, has never received the acclaim it deserves. Only the trio's first album is more consistently enjoyable. This album does not have the raw passion of the Femmes' earliest music, but it showcases the kind of quirky, unique sound that defines this eccentric band. American Music really should have been a hit, featuring the kind of pop sound that should appeal to a mainstream audience that, to a significant degree, doesn't even know this group exists. Out the Window, Look Like That, Used to Be, and Girl Trouble are toe-tappers easy and fun to sing along with. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me is a classic; don't worry about this being a Culture Club cover because its delivery is so uniquely Femmes that it took me a while to even realize the original source of the song. Hey Nonny Nonny and Flamingo Baby are just fun, somewhat nonsensical tracks. Life is a Scream is, ahem, a real scream, providing the listener with a great outlet for releasing any pent-up frustrations of his/her own. The whole album is rather cathartic, with the final track, I'm Free, basically summing up the effect of this music on the listener.
More Money Tonight is a little celebration of revenge, as lead singer Gordon Gano taunts all the people who laughed at him in the past, proclaiming he can make more money tonight than they can even dream of. One of my favorite VF songs of all time is He Likes Me. Don't get the wrong idea about this one-the "he" Gano is talking about is "her" new man. Anyone who has been forced to be nice to the guy dating the girl you are crazy about will have no trouble relating to these lyrics.
This is probably the Violent Femmes' most mainstream album; there is definitely a pop sound to most of the music. This is in no way a sellout, however--the sound may not be as dark and moody as usual, but this is still vintage VF. Even on his happiest day, Gano has pent-up feelings that just have to come out in his music. If you want to introduce a friend to the incredible music of this quirky trio, this is probably the best album to point them to. The original album is better, of course, but Why Do Birds Sing? provides a great avenue for the uninitiated to discover the passion and unique musical genius of this group.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the perfect Femmes album 17 July 1998
By Jose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For those not familiar with the band, but would like to check them out, this is the best CD to begin with. Gordon Gano's voice is well suited to belt out lyrics laced with humor, sarcasm, vengefulness, and romanticism. As far as the music is concerned...well, let me put it this way, if the Ramones unplugged their intstruments and had a baby with the Stray Cats, it would come pretty close to this.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exotically Formal Femmes 26 Dec 2003
By Smoskalis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
What a great album. Opens with the notorious "American Music", ends with the country inspired gem "I'm Free", and in between exhibits a vibrant variety of music, using elements of Pop, Folk, Country, Rock and Punk to generate a sort of "undressed new wave sound" that only the Violent Femmes could have the ingenuity to create. As with every Femmes album, "Why Do Birds Sing?" puts an interesting spin on the established Femmes sound. Keyboards and Organs play a previously nonresident role, and many instruments are introduced into the Femmes' musical vocabulary. Ukeleles, Conga Drums, Tambourines, Jaw Harps, Mellotrons, and drummer Victor Delorenzo's own invention, the "Tranceaphone" are among the interesting tools used to create the album. Though do not be fooled by the seemingly odd choice of instrumentation, the Violent Femmes are anything but some obscure emotionless act. Their unique sonances blend with accustomed Rock melodies to develop a very natural and pure sound, creating songs of exclusive charm.
Gordon Gano, Singer/Guitarist, presents beautifully ambigious songwriting in a class of its own. The reason Femmes songs are loved so dearly by so many different types of people, is that they represent that which we can all relate to; the inevitable clash of venerating, joyous innocence, with dark, dolorous truths which will always haunt our psyche. Harsh realities affect our emotions in a way that nothing else can, and Gordon uses humour to deliver recollections of these disturbingly honest moments we all share. Using humour to describe sorrow, two emotions in such contrast to one another, harnesses a wide range of emotions, all meeting together at one moment; the end result being unsure of whether you should laugh, be confused, angry, or simply break down and cry. These moments of such emotionally plenary uncertainty strike us all in the same way, in the sense that we are all struck in different ways. So quite naturally, it is of impeccable appropriateness that "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" is covered on this album, a song dealing with these exact issues, seemingly written for Gordon's writing style.
While I favor some songs over others, all are interesting in their own way. "Used To Be", perhaps my favorite track on the album, is sad to the point where hopelessness becomes beautiful. I love how well Victor's double snare fits the song, and the tone is Gordon's voice is in magical correspondance to the lyrics. The first 2 tracks, "American Music" and "Out The Window", both found on the "Add it Up" album, are classics. As the chorus of "American Music" sings, "Every time I look at that ugly lake it reminds of me." Brilliant line. Looking at a lake will show you your reflection, and if the lake is ugly and it reminds him of him, well, you get the idea. Gordon always amazes me with using such unique ways to bring up common ideas we all share. We can all relate to "Look Like That", or "Girl Trouble". The witty "Lack Of Knowledge" is a Punk Rock inspired tune about intelligence and confusion. It's impossible to not enjoy Gordon's clever anthem of revenge "More Money Tonight".
Femmes fans who don't already own "Why Do Birds Sing?" must buy this majestic masterpiece for their own sake, as the benefits of this purchase extend far beyond the material world. As good as this album is, it is not the ideal place to start for listeners who haven't heard, or are new to the Violent Femmes. Acquire "Violent Femmes - Deluxe Edition", the highly distinguished self-titled album, first. I definitely recommend the Deluxe Edition as it contains a bonus disc that will reveal to you a whole nother aspect of their genius - the live act. Though the album "Viva Wiconsin" is definitely the ultimate document of the Femmes live, the bonus live disc is an interesting chronicle that you will thank yourself for later.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential part of my collection 25 Jan 2000
By Dale Merchant - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a wonderful album - not as raw as "Add it Up", and certainly not as dancy, but every song is a gem. The music is catchy, clever and full of energy. The lyrics are by turns inspired, nasty, clever, plainly odd, and even quite rude. It reads like Gano was getting out all the poison from childhood and a very bad relationship as well: I wish my own catharsis could be so eloquent (and profitable!). The cover of "Do you really want to hurt me" is wonderful, revealing what a great song it is. Keep an ear out for the sneaky reference to "Sympathy for the Devil".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect first half--I mean ANYWHERE 6 Oct 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The first half of this CD (the A side on vinyl and cassette) is my favorite thing the Femmes ever did. Depth and texture abound with great Gorno lyrics (and an awesome cover of Boy George/the Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me"--Don't let this turn you off--it's deep and it's a total trip)! It's a classic first half but from there the level drops a little, although there are still good songs to come.
I really think the Femmes peaked with this release. It was produced by their drummer at the time who then quit the band after it was released! The band has never been the same since. Thus ends another lesson on chemistry!
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