Husker Du
Candy Apple Grey



by indietrash USER (27 Reviews)
December 17th, 2006 | 13 replies

Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hüsker Dü marks the transition from hardcore/emocore to alternative rock. From self releasing to the major label world. But all in a very positive way.

Candy Apple Grey from 1986 marks Hüsker Dü's "sellout" to the big nasty major label Warner Bros. So, naturally, this album is supposed to be a terrible album. Well... sorry to disappoint you guys, but it ain't. It really ain't. Do you know how bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden ever could wind up at respectively Geffen and A&M? Because of this very album here. This album album proves that it is possible for a punk band to go from the diy indie ethics of releasing the albums yourself, or on small indie labels - to a huge major label, without making a fool out of yourself! Actually, in quite a few's opinion - they do the exact opposite! You'll find emocore fans stating Zen Arcade as Hüsker Dü's best album. You'll find hardcore fans stating Everything Falls Apart as their best album. As for the "rest" - it's New Day Rising, Flip Your Wig and perhaps most commonly - Candy Apple Grey that matters.

Candy Apple Grey is without a doubt the most radio-friendly album to derive from Hüsker Dü. That sentence alone might just be enough to make some of the hardcore fans' stomachs turn. But have no fear, it's only a temporarily stomach-turn. Once you've put the record on the gramophone - you'll find that: "Hey! This ain't altogether that bad!". No, it isn't. It's actually quite impressing, I must say. It begins with you getting pushed into a wail. Then punched in the face by a tremendous force, that is Bob Mould's distinct way of playing the guitar.

And then it explodes. For a trio, they sound huge. And the sound is broader than ever. It's all still there. the basics I mean; there's still the thumpy drums being played slightly behind the beat, the malicious basslines that cooperate perfectly with the trashing guitar-riffs.
But there's something more to it, this time. It's broader and more melodic, than ever. It's sort of a total change of genre. It's a transition from hardcore/emocore to what is later to be known as alternative rock.
It sounds as frenetic, as passionate and as upset as ever... but it's also introverted, cold, and at times toned-down. There's even an acoustic guitar in the picture, as well as a piano. The songs "No Promise Have I Made", "Hardly Getting Over It" and "Too Far Down" are particularly... blue. And cold. And just downright sad. The acoustic guitar and piano makes a welcome change of sound, from the upbeat tracks on the record, who - by the way, are catchier and more passionate than ever.
There is some very strong songwriting present on this record. Bob Mould and Grant Hart both outdo themselves.

The lyrics on this album is concerned with everything from breaking up in "Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely", to trying to sell ice cream in a theater (I have no idea if that's a metaphor, and in which case - what it's supposed to mean) in "Eiffel Tower High". In general it's all kind of blue and melancholic. But still damn catchy. You'll have yourself singing along to both "I Don't Know for Sure" and "Sorry Somehow" by the end of the tracks.

The production is also better, now that they're on Warner Bros. But it all sounds a little dirty, and not as commercialized as one would expect. Who's produced this album? None other than Bob Mould and Grant Hart themselves. So this is still diy and indie, up to a certain point. They're still in full artistic control, thanks to Warner Bros. who put their money where their mouth was - supporting a band they're not very likely to make any money on, but is admired in the musical industry. And for that I really respect Warner Bros. for being a label that is more engaged in MUSIC than in MONEY. This "full artistic control" contract is considered being a model for future alternative rock acts that signed with major labels (e.g. Sonic Youth and Soul Asylum).

All in all, this is a great album. With a lot of amazing tracks. Maybe especially "Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely" - the album's natural highlight. It's probably the most catchy Hüsker Dü song ever. If not the best Hüsker Dü song ever. Such an amazing track.
But with that being said, no tracks are really skipable.
They're all actually surprisingly good. You know, for a major label act.

Go buy this album, make yourself some hot cocoa, get your girl/boyfriend next to you, dim down the lights, put the record on the gramophone, and enjoy. Just enjoy as Hüsker Dü define alternative rock.

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user ratings (189)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Two-Headed Boy
December 17th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Hey, good review. Although with all the exclamation points it seems like you're screaming at me :-

This album is criminally under-rated. Pretty much agree with everything you said, too.

December 17th 2006


Husker Du own so much.

I'm getting Zen Arcade for Christmas and I literally can't wait to listen.

December 17th 2006


The only Husker Du albums I like are Zen Arcade and New Day Rising. The rest are meh.

Electric City
December 17th 2006


Me too, Derek. Can't wait.

December 17th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

holy crapoly i love this album. Hardly Getting Over To It pwns. nice review but check that third paragraph for spacing....

Two-Headed Boy
March 31st 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Hardly Getting Over To It pwns.

Agreed to the X-TREME.

December 29th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0


December 29th 2011


yeah weak record

December 29th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

only relatively though

January 8th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

actually screw that opinion, this is probably their most consistent album

September 25th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

underrated af pop album

September 28th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

No doubt.

Some of the songwriting on this is immense.

August 18th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

Bringing the feels.

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