Kiss Off

Violent Femmes – Kiss Off

If the sight of this album cover doesn’t immediately take you back to high school, well, maybe you’re older than I am because if you’re my age or younger, it should*. Even if you weren’t in high school when it came out, like I was, there’s something so quintessentially high school about it. Probably because many of the songs were written by Gordon Gano when he was that age. It was just voted #5 in the top 10 albums of 1983 poll by the readers of Slicing Up Eyeballs. This reader definitely included it in the ten I voted for.

I thought of this song this morning as I sat in traffic, already late for work before hitting the wall of cars. There had been a substitute bus driver this morning who showed up eight minutes early and, with no one standing out waiting in the rain, blew right past the house. My seven-year old was in tears at the thought of missing the bus, probably because it meant no Pokemon trading card opportunities, but still, tears first thing on a Monday morning is a very inauspicious beginning to a week. So I told him we could catch up to the bus, grabbed my car keys and we hurried on alternate streets to beat the bus to a stop a few after ours.

Normally I should already be on my way to work when his bus arrives but I could barely get out of bed this morning since I some noisy neighbors woke me up at 2:15am. They were just hanging out on their front porch, talking loudly, at 2:15am on a Sunday night. Clearly these people don’t work 9-5 jobs or have school-aged children.

I sent my boss and a co-worker a text explaining I was running late because of a school bus mishap and hoped I’d be there before a 9:30 meeting I had scheduled. I didn’t have to attend the meeting but ideally I would have been around to make sure it got underway without any problems. Therefore I should not have been surprised to come upon a sea of red tail lights just as I thought I might make it in by that time. And of course I would get an email from one of the participants saying can we please reschedule, I just left you a voice mail.

I’m not really annoyed with any of the people that caused me to be so late this morning (ok, yes, the noisy neighbors) but I was listening to the new album by the National since the show’s tomorrow night. On the last track, Hard to Find, which came on while I sat in the stop and go traffic, Matt Berninger sings “You can all just kiss off into the air…” an obvious tip of the hat to the boys from Milwaukee. With everything feeling like it was out of my control, the frustrations that are so prevalent throughout the Violent Femmes first album were mounting and I found myself thinking, “10, 10, 10, 10 for everything! Everything! Everything! Everything!”

*Maybe because I so strongly associate this album with my youth, it was jarring to see them perform basically the whole album at Coachella this past April. Some things are better left in your memory.


  1. Ack! Nothing like stress on a Monday morning, right? Good thing there’s music to help get the frustrations out with. Hope you have a great time at the concert!


  2. Oh my gosh, I love that album!! It’s one of those that I love more and more as I get older, too – especially on mornings like the one you describe. Nothing lets off steam like Kiss Off.


    1. It’s often one I don’t think about that much but when I see it, or hear a track on it, I immediately want to hear the whole thing.


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