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4.5 out of 5 stars
Candy Apple Grey
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
They were prolific, always moving forward- the pop sensibilities becoming apparent on tracks like 'Makes No Sense at All', 'Games' & 'Books About UFO's' are in excelis here.
Bob Mould was becoming the dominant songwriter on 'Candy Apple Grey'- their first album for Warners (where both REM and The Replacements would follow). As everyone should know- there would be no Nirvana or Pixies without the Du.
Opener 'Crystal' picks up where 'Flip Your Wig's 'Divide & Conquer' left off. It's another redhotred track that takes us to Grant Hart's 'Don't Want to Know if You're Lonely'. While Hart was contributing less songs- the quality is almost as high as Mould's. 'Don't Want...' is a cruel heartbreaker and a key Husker Du song...'I Don't Know for Sure' is another guitar-pop song, which Mould would perfect on 'Warehouse's 'Standing in the Rain'. Catchy as hell...The single 'Sorry Somehow' is next- with its wonderful keyboards and Hart's scream of apolgies...The centre of the album belongs to Mould: first there is 'Too Far Down' which opens with the Beatles-inflected experimentation common to 'Zen Arcade' before shifting into a dark acoustic song. A definite precursor of The Replacements 'All Shook Down'. This is a dark night of the soul...Another key Husker Du song lets a little of the light back in with the achingly gorgeous keyboard backing to 'Hardly Getting Over It'. This is a song that would greatly influence REM- with songs like 'Sweetness Follows' & 'Fretless'...Hart's dumb-Ramonesesque 'Dead Set on Destruction' picks the beat up- though is the duffest moment here...Mould replies with 'Eiffel Tower High'- another manic pop burnout prior to Hart's piano-based ballad 'No Promise I Made'- which almost returns to the intstrumental 'One Step at a Time' from 'Zen Arcade' as its starting point. Finally Mould rounds off the album with the sublime guitar-hook of 'All This I've done for You'- imagine if the Yardbirds had played punk.
'Candy Apple Grey' is a great album- a good introduction to Husker Du and the predecessor to their final masterpiece 'Warehouse (Songs & Stories)'.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 8 October 2006
Punk Rock Rule No. 1: To ensure credibility never sign to a major label.

In1986 Husker Du did just that by signing with Warner Bros. and releasing `Candy Apple Grey'. For numerous reason this is the ultimate heresy for any punk rock fan or band. The most significant reason though would be the belief that a band had decided instead to pursue the `almighty buck' instead of their previous musical vision. In almost all cases the music is the first to suffer by the fact the music is toned down significantly in order to shift units.

Husker Du had been signed to the seminal S.S.T. records, which is quite possibly one of the greatest independent record labels ever. While Husker Du were there they released `Zen Arcade' and `New Day Rising' which is still regarded by hard core fans to be their best and I have no argument with that because it's true. However I differ with most fans when it comes to `Candy Apple Grey'.

`Candy Apple Grey' is a fine collection of fuzzy pop punk songs. While the album does not contain the same level of hardcore fuzz that previous albums had there is still plenty to ensure no commercial potential. What I feel is always overlooked is the fact that underneath all that fuzz on their original albums is great songs and that is what made them great. The difference is that `Candy' has some of Husker Du's finer crafted pop songs, which you can also hear a bit more clearly. If that makes me a punk rock heretic then so be it because I love this album and think it's criminally neglected. So while it lacks the credibility of previous albums it's still worthy of your attention.

To those who are not familiar with Husker Du buy this album because I think it is an excellent introduction to the band. After that buy `Zen Arcade' & `New Day Rising' or just buy all three now because all three are worthy of a place in your collection. Grunge and the musical revolution of the 90s would not have happened without Husker Du.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2007
What a great punk/rock record.

I often read and hear people saying 'anyone who listens to modern 'punk' rock - should listen to this'.

Well i did force someone to listen to it - and they hated it - they said it sounded wishy washy and stupid and the guitars were not loud enough.

well abviously my heart was broken - but it just assured me that the modern day casual MTV audience has scant knowledge or any desire to hear anything that isnt marketed to them directly with a price tag to boot too.

If you are a fan of proper rock music - thats the stuff written by real people and not made for a mass audience with a shiny pop finish and suitably trendy boys playing guitars - then you have to have this.

Yes it doesnt sound as clean and bombastic as the records made nowadays, but the tunes and the songwirting on it are unrivalled in the world of melodic punk/rock.

It has raw energy, melody, talented musicians, excellent songwriters tangled in a web of sexual frustration, drugs, heartbreak and booze - and ita comes out in the beautiful mix of songs of 'candy apple grey' -

It has 2 mellow tracks on it - but a number of cracking rock songs each with its very own infectious hook. 'Sorry somehow' being my personal fave with its inclusion of a cathcy keyboard hook alongside punding drums and blistering guitar.

i'd say its better than 'flip your wig' - and competing with 'Wharehouse' for their best.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2006
Upon it's release, "Candy Apple Grey" was seen as a disapointment by fans, critics, and record label. Fans thought that the band had 'sold out' by going with a major and watering down their sound, critics felt it lacked the bite of previous releases and was vastly inferior to "Flip Your Wig", and the record label wanted something more 'pop' but with the quality songwriting of "Zen Arcade".

In retrospect, it's hard to see how Husker Du could have won out in this situation. Their reputation was based on their power as one of the foremost hardcore bands in America, but beneath all of the noise and rage, lay a beating 'pop' heart, that was only now begining to flex it's muscles. Husker Du had dipped their toes into the world of pop music before, but not as confidently as on "Candy Apple Grey". However, what the band considered pop and what Warners considered pop were (and are) two completely different things. After it's release, the record failed to do what was expected of it, and the band hurtled towards "Warehouse: Songs and Stories" and their (perhaps) inevitable demise.

As a result of all this, it's frequently hard to be objective about "Candy Apple Grey", because, in a certain sense, it's the album that broke up the band. This is the first time Husker Du sounded slightly unfocussed, and...well, tired. The 'pop' songs on the album such as 'I Don't Know For Sure' and 'Eiffel Tower High' don't sound as convincing as 'Books About UFO's' from "New Day Rising" or 'Makes No Sense At All' from "Flip Your Wig". They also suffer from a pretty thin sound, giving them no bite at all. They're still full of hooks and insightful lyrics, but they kind of leave you lacking, somewhat.

The production aspect is something that dogged Husker Du throughout their recording career, and every single album has serious sonic failings. "Candy Apple Grey" is all treble, and the shift from indie to major has made no difference to the audio quality at all. When placed beside other recordings made at the time,such as the Replacements or R.E.M., both of which bear a resemblance to Husker Du at times, Husker Du frequently fall short.

But this shouldn't detract from the songs, and it doesn't. 'Don't Want to Know if You Are Lonely' is simply one of the finest songs the band ever wrote, a harrowingly percise look at a failed relationship. 'Sorry Somehow' almost borders on epic, and 'Crystal' is harsh and dissonant, it's placing at the begining of the album almost serving as warning to the listener, a goading attempt by the band to find out who their true fans are.

But inbetween all of this is 'Too Far Down' and 'Hardly Getting Over it', two bona-fide masterpieces. Husker Du had tackled emotional issues before, but never so directly or starkly. 'Too Far Down' could almost be the great-grandfather of emo, with Bob Mould accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, literally dragging himself further and further down into some real or imagined pool of suffering. 'Hardly Getting Over it' is more textured, drums, bass and a slight hint of keyboard perfectly framing a tale of loss and melancholy. Grant Hart responds with 'No Promise Have I Made', a piano ballad that's possibly a little too over-wrought to be totally convincing.

Ultimately, "Candy Apple Grey" doesn't really sound like anything else in their back catalogue. It stands alone, misunderstood, frequently unloved, but begging for rediscovery. Ultimately flawed, it is still one of the finest albums to emerge from the American underground scene of the 1980s, and it's power will continue top resonate for quite some time to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2010
When Warners were presented with the Huskers major label debut back in 1986 they must have been a little disappointed. Husker Du's previous two albums "New Day Rising" and "Flip Your Wig" were superb punk/pop classics brimming with hook laden melodies and the band seemed ready to take their explosive mix of sixties pop and hardcore punk to a much wider audience, instead the ten songs on "Candy Apple Grey" are a little bit of a letdown. From the tongue in cheek opener "Crystal" onwards the album is dour and plodding. The production doesn't help, the bands insistence in self producing (mainly due to Spot's dire results on "New Day Rising") mean the overall feel of the record is still one dimensional and a little shallow.

It's not all bad news though, the bands songwriting power occationally shines through the gloom. Hart's "Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely" is a worthy single and Mould's "Too Far Down" and "Hardly Getting Over It" are dark, thought provoking anthems, but overall the album fails to live up to the bands own high standards. Behind the scenes the one time healthy songwriting rivalry between Mould and Hart was beginning to turn nasty and the writing was indeed on the wall. After one more album the band split in 1987.

Overall "Candy Apple Grey" is not a bad album but do yourself a big favour and check out the bands earlier SST albums to see what all the fuss was about.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2001
Just what is everyone's problem with 80's music? Listening to this album its clear that everything was fine and dandy in the States. Husker Du (along with REM, Pixies, Replacements and AMC) were the vanguard of the indie scene and CANDY APPLE GREY might just be Husker Du's finest hour.
Released after Husker Du signed to Warner, CANDY APPLE GREY is a excellent set of power driven, guitar pop songs. To me the most interesting thing about the album is the dual songwriting of Grant Hart and Bob Mould. The songs penned by Hart are generally faster, one-dimensional songs dealing with relationship problems. Don't get me wrong, I love SORRY SOMEHOW and DON'T WANT TO KNOW IF YOU ARE LONELY - they work on their own level. However the real treat are Bob Mould's songs. Mould has spread his canvas wider than Hart, bringing in biting social comment. Mould seems to use reflection as opposed to anger as the main emotion of his songs. I DON'T KNOW FOR SURE seems to be about 5 years ahead of its time, pre-empting the whole Slacker/Grunge scene. However it's the acoustic TOO FAR GONE and HARDLY GETTING OVER IT that really stand out. The latter is a haunting ode to death with Mould sighing, "Grandma, she got sick, she is going to die. And Grandpa had a seizure, moved into a hotel cell and died away". But its not all doom and gloom. EIFFEL TOWER HIGH is a wry, humorous tale of a woman who in true Dylan fashion, "Buys herself a seat, and sits on the floor".
Get this and then buy the slightly earlier double album ZEN ARCADE, and then bow to the true forefathers of Grunge.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2004
Quite simply, 'Candy Apple Grey' is the perfect introduction to the music of Husker Du. The Minnesota trio, to hardcore fans, made better albums (out of their five in in three years 84-87) in 'New Day Rising' and 'Zen Arcade.' But 'Candy...' represents both spectrums of their hardcore thrash roots, and the slickly produced polish of '87's 'Warehouse...' This album is all about EMOTION. You can laugh, cry, mosh, scream, and sweat to the swelling grooves of 'Hardly Getting Over It', 'Crystal' and all of the other 9 classics. This is THE album of 1986 to own.....after The Smiths' 'The Queen is Dead!' BUY THIS ALBUM NOW. It WILL change your life. And when you own it, spread the word; the 'Huskers' deserve more credit than from those in the know.
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on 13 May 2012
I bought this to add to my cd collection, and to replace my vinyl and tape editions!! Sounds as fantastic as ever and was also put straight on the iPod!! Slightly disappointed in the quality of the booklet...was very much 'bootleg' quality and not what I was expecting!
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on 2 August 2014
This is my favourite album, such a good record, no filler............Grant Hart showing he is just as good a song writer as Bob Mould, Mould still the more dominant tough, causing their eventual demise.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2010
Can you remember where you were when you first heard Husker Du, I can. It was 1986 and I was listening to Radio Trent ( can you remember that when local commercial radio was worth listening to ) Any way I was 21 and getting ready to go to the pub when the song Hardly getting over it came on the radio and after 30 seconds I was hooked. I can even remember what the DJ John Shaw said to his co-presenter Mark Spivey. " I would love so see them do that on top of the pops. Can you imagine it then song starts and the lights up, and 3 fat Americans appear on stage wouldn't that be great."

Quite alot of people who were already fans of Husker Du were not happy when Candy Apple Grey was released as they said they had sold out and they had gone commercial, but I don't agree. just because you can now hear what they are singing about now does not mean an artist has sold out. To be honest if the song that they had played on the radio in 1986 was New day rising off one of their earlier album with the same name I would just gone to the pub not knowing that Husker Du ever exisited.
About five years ago I was at work, and with my colleages and through boredom we all decided to write down our desert island disc, and after an hour mine was finished, And yes along with Radioheads Ok Computer, Pink Floyds The Wall, Cocteau Twins Heavan or Las Vagas, This Mortal coil It will end in tears, Rush Power Windows, Stiff Lille Fingers Inflamable Material, The Smiths Hatful of Hollow, REMs Green and Stations of the Crass by Crass "remember them." Candy Apple Grey was added. Thats right its that good, Out of 400+ albums and 100+ CDs it would be in my top ten.

If you like early REM or early 80s punk you willl like this album, but do not judge this album by the first track Crystal because the song is about drugs and is played at 100 mph, but after a 50 plays you will like this track as well. Which will then make this one of thoughs rear masterpeices, an album with not one weak track.
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