Their debut represents more than just the height of the band's commercial success. Although virtually ignored upon its release, the album has since been regarded as emblematic of the teenage experience, youthful frustration pinned and preserved.
Part of the reason the album endures is the music itself: simply constructed songs with sticky melodies, sung by a young man with a conversational delivery and a voice like a fire-truck siren, backed by frenzied bass playing and primal, intuitive drumming. The performances are burning things, alternately spare and spacious, then suddenly taut and rigid and nervous. Things never fall apart, but they continually threaten to. The lyrics are gutting and funny, too: sordid but somehow pleasant teenage confessionals penned by an actual teenager. Even when the words temporarily slip into inanity, the off-kilter vocal performance lifts them, twists them, and lends them an extra edge of weirdness that pushes them back into the personal. "Blister in the Sun," the Femmes' bip-boppin' ode to drugs, "big hands," and nocturnal emissions, is clearly the single of the bunch, but nearly every track is powerful, deranged, and yes, likeable.