Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes [Slash, 1983]
If Jonathan Richman thought he was as sexy as Richard Hell, he'd come on like Gordon Gano. And if you believe Jonathan Richman damn well is as sexy as Richard Hell, which Gano is counting on, remember that what makes Jonathan's kiddie act so (shall we say) appealing is that he counts on nothing except his fingers and toes. Gano knows his stuff--the barely electric music is striking enough for rock and roll. But for all its undeniable humor and panache the effect is precious, wimp bohemianism so self-congratulatory it'll be sucking its own wee-wee next time we look. B+