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Monday, January 17, 2011

Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade

Released : July 1984
Recorded : October 1983 at the Total Access Recording in Redondo Beach, California (except "Standing By The Sea," recorded during the Metal Circus sessions, Dec 1982)
Genre : Hardcore punk, Post-hardcore, Alternative rock
Length : 70:23
Label : SST
Producer : Hüsker Dü, Spot

In many ways, it's impossible to overestimate the impact of Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade on the American rock underground in the '80s. It's the record that exploded the limits of hardcore and what it could achieve. Hüsker Dü broke all of the rules with Zen Arcade. First and foremost, it's a sprawling concept album, even if the concept isn't immediately clear or comprehensible. More important are the individual songs. Both Bob Mould and Grant Hart abandoned the strict "fast, hard, loud" rules of hardcore punk with their songs for Zen Arcade. Without turning down the volume, Hüsker Dü try everything -- pop songs, tape experiments, acoustic songs, pianos, noisy psychedelia. Hüsker Dü willed themselves to make such a sprawling record -- as the liner notes state, the album was recorded and mixed within 85 hours and consists almost entirely of first takes. That reckless, ridiculously single-minded approach does result in some weak moments -- the sound is thin and the instrumentals drag on a bit too long -- but it's also the key to the success of Zen Arcade. Hüsker Dü sound phenomenally strong and possessed, as if they could do anything. The sonic experimentation is bolstered by Mould and Hart's increased sense of songcraft. Neither writer is afraid to let his pop influences show on Zen Arcade, which gives the songs -- from the unrestrained rage of "Something I Learned Today" and the bitter, acoustic "Never Talking to You Again" to the eerie "Pink Turns to Blue" and anthemic "Turn On the News" -- their weight. It's music that is informed by hardcore punk and indie rock ideals without being limited by them.


1. Something I Learned Today
2. Broken Home, Broken Heart
3. Never Talking To You Again
4. Chartered Trips
5. Dreams Reocurring
6. Indecision Time
7. Hare Krsna
8. Beyond The Threshold
9. Pride
10.I'll Never Forget You
11.The Biggest Lie
12.What's Going On
13.Masochism World
14.Standing By The Sea
16.One Step At A Time
17.Pink Turns To Blue
18.Newest Industry
19.Monday Will Never Be The Same
21.The Tooth Fairy And The Princess
22.Turn On The News
23.Recurring Dreams


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