Hüsker Dü Album Reviews
Hüsker Dü started as a hardcore punk in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1979, with Bob Mould on guitar and vocals, Grant Hart on drums and vocals, and Greg Norton on bass and occasional vocals. Over their first few albums, they opened out their sound from super fast hardcore punk to more melodic pop-craft, but still kept their punk aggression and edge. It seems logical to label it as pop punk, but it’s a long way from the watered down music that bands like Blink-182 later bought to the mainstream.
All three are excellent musicians – Hart’s drumming is a little jazzy and idiosyncratic, Mould’s Flying-V throws out walls of noise, while Norton’s melodic basslines hold things together, although it’s often difficult to hear the bass on their roughly produced early records. Hart and Mould shared lead vocal and songwriting duties, although Mould always had slightly more songs on each album, Hart was the first to move towards pop-oriented songs, and pieces like ‘The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill’ and ‘Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely’ are among the band’s best.
I’ve skipped over their first two releases – 1982’s live Land Speed Record and 1983’s Everything Falls Apart – as they’re focused on hardcore punk, and they tend to blur together for me, although the latter’s cover of Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ is a clear signpost to where the band were going. The bulk of their best work is contained on their 1984-1987 studio albums, but it’s worth checking out their b-side covers, especially their version of The Byrds’ ‘Eight Miles High’.
Hüsker Dü split up in 1987, with contributing factors including the suicide of their manager, Hart’s drug addiction and tension between rumoured former lovers Mould and Hart; Mould formed Sugar, Hart formed Nova Mob, and the mustachioed Norton became a restauranteur. Hüsker Dü were arguably the most vital band of their era, particularly between July 1984 and January 1987 when they released an astounding fourteen LP sides of material. Their music’s never been reissued or remastered, apart from one posthumous live album, and they’ve never reformed.
Ten Favourite Hüsker Dü Songs
Flip Your Wig
The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
Never Talking To You Again
Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely
Could You Be The One?
Eight Miles High
She Floated Away
Hardly Getting Over It