Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade

Bob Mould, Grant Hart and Greg Norton started rehearsing together and formed a band named after a 50's board game in the late 70's. As they released a few obscure hardcore albums beginning in the early 80's, it became evident that they were starting to expand their sound. While hardcore punk of the early 80's had started its decline by this time, a completely new group of musicians were making their away around the underground and across the country. The most prominent figures of this new scene were the boys of Husker Du, who managed to invent something different and refreshing enough to change music as we know it.

One of the most important records released during the post-punk surge of 1984, Husker Du's phenomenal double album Zen Arcade has stood the test of time as a testament to that period's musical style. After their early metal releases, the Huskers refined their attack and debuted on indie label SST with this album. Almost unheard of at the time in the underground scene was Husker's decision to release a double album. Not only that, but it also turned out to be a loose concept album, telling of a boy's life experiences much like the Who's "Tommy".

Right from the opening bassline of the album, the listener can tell they're in for a roller coaster ride of a musical experience. Bob Mould's fuzzy powerchord melodies and outrageous solos power the band's driving attack. Grant Hart's drumming shows an obvious influence of punk, but he throws in several variations to keep the rhythm fresh. And as always, Norton's basslines are pounding and occasionally have some great hooks that are able to single-handedly string songs together, like on "Broken Home, Broken Heart".

While Husker Du exhibits their anger on several tracks that are unforgivingly abrasive and loud, they do manage to exhibit a more musically evolved side with an acoustic track "Never Talking to You Again", a few well crafted, melodic pop tunes such as "Someday" and "Pink Turns to Blue" and some experimental instrumental tracks (including the roughly 13 minute long finale). Bob Mould's exceptional songwriting really shines here, and Grant Hart's mini-masterpiece "Turn On the News" proves that they were an incredible writing team. (It also should be noted that when Mould isn't screaming/yelling into the mike, he does manage to come off as a decent singer.)

Husker Du's post-punk masterpiece seemingly never gets the recognition it deserves. While a touchstone for 80's underground fans, you'd be hard pressed to find one person in twenty that's even heard of the band today. If you ever get the chance, pick up this album even if it is slightly expensive. (It is a double album after all). It shouldn't be missed.


Buy It

1. Something I Learned
2. Broken Home,
Broken Heart
3. Never Talking to You
4. Chartered Trips
5. Dreams Reoccuring
6. Indecision Time
7. Hare Krsna
8. Beyond the
9. Pride
10. I'll Never Forget You
11. The Biggest Lie
12. What's Going On
13. Masochism World
14. Standing By The
15. Somewhere
16. One Step at a Time
17. Pink Turns to Blue
18. Newest Industry
19. Monday Will Never
Be the Same
20. Whatever
21. The Tooth Fairy and
the Princess
22. Turn on the News
23. Reoccuring Dreams

Written by: Tosh

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