Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
on 16 April 2000
This was one of the first Husker Du albums I bought. In my opinion, it's the best. It captures the band as they were moving from the hardcore speed of their "early records" (just two years' previous) towards the more melodic "poppier" albums to follow.
Opening pretty much as we'd come to expect - loud, fast and shouty - "New Day Rising" is an excellent (and prophetic, in term's of Mould's career) statement of intent. The production is pretty thin, the razor-sharp guitar sound, if anything, adding to the tension. They were re-writing the rules on pop, hardcore and punk in one fell swoop.
Songs like "...Heaven Hill", "I Apologise" and "If I Told You" prove that melody and dissonance can live happily ever after and "Folklore" is probably as political as the Huskers got at that point - the band always seemed to write personal songs. "Celebrated Summer" is a case in point and one of the best songs Husker Du recorded. It's brilliantly written and played. You get that sense of being a teenager again... Amazon should get an excerpt on its site - you really have to listen to it.
Grant Hart's wicked sense of humour makes appearances on "...Warfare" and "...UFOs" - again, two stand-out songs in an impressive back catalogue. The songs even sit well with Mould's tortured "Perfect Example" and "59 Times The Pain", which show that, for all the loud bravado, they're vulnerable too. "Powerline" is a good track, even though I can't fathom what the song is ABOUT... The last three songs are pretty much Husker Du wig-outs in the style of their previous opus "Zen Arcade" and round off the album in a suitably off-beat manner.
Three years and three albums later (the last two on Warners, the final one a double), it was all over for the band, undone by drink, drugs and suicide. Mould came back with solo releases and the moumental band Sugar. Hart formed Nova Mob and quickly became irrelevant. Bassist Greg Norton became a chef. Hmmm... However, the band's legacy will remain in the namechecks of cool alt-rock bands and more importantly, in recordings like this. Everyone with an interest in great songs needs to hear this album.