Husker Du
New Day Rising


5.0
classic

Review

by The_Passenger USER (2 Reviews)
May 31st, 2006 | 172 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist


These days, although not commercially successful in their time, several albums by “underground" bands are looked back upon as classics. In their time the good reviews they got didn’t equal commercial success, which is a shame, and in some cases, surprising. There are many of these great bands, including The Replacements, The Minutemen and, later on, The Pixies. Some bands of the era did go on to great success though-REM is a household name these days, and they are just one example. However, one of those bands that never experienced great commercial success was Husker Du.

Husker Du (check their main page for more info) were a three-piece punk band from Minnesota, formed the late 70s. The band’s first album, Land Speed Record was released in late 1981. The album was a live recording of the band’s uninteresting and generic hardcore music. However, with several prolific releases throughout the 80s the band raised their profile, gaining fans and respect along the way.

The band’s first critical success was the 1984 double LP Zen Arcade. A sprawling album, it showed a wider range of influences than the band had revealed previously, and is looked back upon as one of the greatest independently released albums of the decade. The band followed the said album up only a few months later in early 1985 with (what I feel is their best album) New Day Rising.

The general consensus seems to be that Zen Arcade is the band’s best work-and however great that album is, I disagree. Although impressive, the album has some flaws, including its overlong closing track (which takes up a quarter of the album’s running time). It’s as if the band were being too ambitious with that album-however, on New Day Rising the band seemed to be working on a smaller-and more appropriate-scale.

Despite descriptions of the band including terms like “hardcore" and “punk", this album transcends both genres. The snotty, rebellious attitudes of punk are absent here-instead the songs tackle various subjects. For example, the relatively upbeat and ‘happy’ “Songs About UFOs" is about a girl who has an obsession with unidentified flying objects (‘Walking down the sunny streets to the library/Checking out the latest books on outer space’), while “Terms Of Psychic Warfare" deals with a bad relationship-neither try to appeal to ‘rebels’ or anything of the like-they’re about what Grant and Bob know respectively, and the songs feel more genuine because of it.

Generally, the happier tunes came from the pen of drummer Grant Hart (although he did pen “Terms Of Psychic Warfare), while the darker ones came from guitarist Bob Mould. The two were both vocalists who would sing on their own songs. The two were a great song-writing duo, comparable to Lennon and McCartney. (Bassist Greg Norton had almost minimal input in the band’s creative output, despite being a capable bassist. He’s probably best remembered for his moustache more than anything).

However, sometimes the tracks have no obvious meaning. The album’s opening song and title track’s lyrics consist of nothing but “New Day Rising" yelled over and over on the top of a riff that is used throughout the song. It may sound boring, but the urgent drumming of Grant Hart and Bob Mould’s heavily distorted guitar tone make the track sound vital and alive for its duration. It works wonders to get the album going and sets the listener up for what is to come.

For the most part, the album is fairly catchy and accessible, while also remaining intelligent (something far too rare). Songs like “I Apologise" return to the relationship theme with the band’s usual energy and vigour, while “Folklore" is the album’s ‘punk’ track, discussing American history over loud, crashing guitars. “Celebrated Summer" mixes things up by having two short acoustic sections, which provide a nice contrast to an otherwise loud, distorted and speedy album. The song also arrives halfway through the album, making it the perfect place for such a break.

However, the band were also able to dip into more avant-garde and bizarre music, as demonstrated on “How To Skin A Cat". Set over dissonant guitar chords and simple drumming, Mould talks about an odd business plan about a cat farm and how to feed the cats he will keep. This is really the album’s only downfall-as much as it provides something different, it doesn’t keep with the flow of the album, and seems like the band were trying too hard to make something ‘weird’.

The album also suffers in the area of production, while I’m on the topic of its few flaws. The album was made cheaply, and it was made quickly, and unfortunately it shows at times. Although Mould’s guitar is supposed to be distorted, it sometimes sounds like it shouldn’t be that noisy. Another qualm is Norton, who while dependable, never really seems to do anything special with his bass lines.

However, these are nothing more than small little blotches on what is an otherwise fantastic album. New Day Rising is a fast and lively album, one which is filled to the brim with energy and power. It is a mostly even album (although the first half is slightly superior to the second), with songs that you know are Husker Du, and you know are from this album, but still provides enough variation to keep from being monotonous.

New Day Rising is one of the best albums of 1980’s, and you’re missing out if you don’t at least give it a try.


user ratings (368)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
mx
Moderator
May 31st 2006


733 Comments


Great review. Well done! :thumb:

The_Passenger
May 31st 2006


11 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Heh, thanks. I thought it would suck, with it being my first review.This Message Edited On 05.31.06

Zappa
May 31st 2006


355 Comments


This is a nicely written review of a good album.This Message Edited On 05.31.06

masada
May 31st 2006


2733 Comments


I wanted to do a review of this.

JohnXDoesn't
May 31st 2006


1287 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Passenger, this is a nice review. Especially for a first. You gave a good overview of the entire thing. And what a great album you chose to get started. I really can't say enough about these guys. I have most everythnig they ever did and it is all pretty much astonishing. I also like Mould's solo work and especially the work he did with his short lived band Sugar.This Message Edited On 05.31.06

Zebra
Moderator
May 31st 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I enjoy this album from time to time but it pails in comparison to Zen Arcade. That being said it is still a good album, great job on the review.

kno_kontrol
May 31st 2006


448 Comments


excellent review for your first one. I loved how you described how the songs sounded, as opposed to a blow by blow account of each one. You did an excellent job especially on describing the oddball tracks. I guess I need to check out this album and Zen Arcade, as Ive yet to hear any Husker Du. Keep up the good work.

stinkypoptart
September 24th 2006


1169 Comments


this is a pretty cool band. also a pretty cool review.

Two-Headed Boy
October 14th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very good first review. This album, you guessed it, takes some cake.

YDload
October 14th 2006


1207 Comments


What the hell is wrong with you people? This is a bad review. He only describes what the songs sound like in the most empirical, objective terms without telling us what's important about them. It seems like he just listened to the album once and described the songs as they were playing (a sin I've been guilty of, but never when writing reviews of GREAT albums like this one). Observe:

"Celebrated Summer" mixes things up by having two short acoustic sections, which provide a nice contrast to an otherwise loud, distorted and speedy album. The song also arrives halfway through the album, making it the perfect place for such a break.


So what?? This is arguably the best song on the album, and all he notices is the two acoustic sections? If this is his first review, then hopefully he won't take this criticism too harshly. I'm just relating a problem that I see in many reviews, but I've singled out here because I like this album so much.

Zebra
Moderator
October 14th 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I get what you're saying but I don't see why it's a problem. I just re-read the review and I still thought he did a great job, he went over just about everything. He stated that the song is important because it "it provides a nice contrast to an otherwise loud, distorted, and speedy album." The review already states why the album is important as a whole, he doesn't have to state why each song is important because that would be a waste of time.


YDload
October 14th 2006


1207 Comments


Of course he doesn't state why EVERY song is important, because they aren't. Only certain songs are important, and he didn't explain why. "Celebrated Summer" certainly isn't important because of two acoustic sections. You're falling for the same bullshit and can't see why the song is great in terms of something other than structure.

MrKite
October 14th 2006


5020 Comments


this is a great band. i heard them from lats.fm and i liked them.

The_Passenger
October 25th 2006


11 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wow, no comments for about 4 months and now all this.

Anyway, I was wondering if someone would dislike my writing, so it doesn't bother too much if YDload doesn't. " He only describes what the songs sound like in the most empirical, objective terms without telling us what's important about them" is a valid criticism and I'll accept it. However, I'm not getting what you're saying I should do to correct this. Should I write about how the album makes me feel? The emotion behind it?

nirvana1989_nb
November 5th 2006


98 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i have "Candy Apple Grey" which i love. Will i like this album too or should i get Warehouse

Shadowed Reflection
August 17th 2007


274 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It was a good review, I don't get what all the complaining is about. Insanely good album, but I think I prefer Zen Arcade.

YDload
December 16th 2007


1207 Comments


I just re-read my comments and I'm not sure why I found this review so objectionable. I apologize ;)

But here is one thing I disagree with: "Another qualm is Norton, who while dependable, never really seems to do anything special with his bass lines." Norton is a very creative bassist, take it from someone who listened to the album with a bass guitar at his side trying to figure out all the parts. Would any other hardcore-bred bassist put so many high notes in these songs? He could have stayed with root notes and blended into the guitar fuzz, but I think he really stands out in this and every Husker album.

Mahavidya
December 16th 2007


99 Comments


Bass part in "Powerline" rules.

porch
August 31st 2010


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

first comment in three years

sputnik sucks



illmitch
August 31st 2010


5429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sputnik just has complete shit taste in punk

i mean when people see a punk rec list they rec shit like propaghandi and the refused its pathetic



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy