Performer: Hüsker Dü
Engineer: Spot; Husker Du...
Producer: Spot; Husker Du...
Distributor: E1 Distribution (USA)
Notes: Husker Du: Bob Mould (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, piano, bass, percussion); Grant Hart (vocals, piano, drums, percussion); Greg Norton (bass, background vocals). Additional personnel includes: Dez, Spot (vocals). Recorded at Total Access, Redondo Beach, California in October 1983. Personnel: Bob Mould (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, percussion, background vocals); Grant Hart (vocals, piano, drums, percussion, background vocals); Greg Norton (background vocals). Recording information: total Access, Redondo Beach, CA (10/1983). Husker Du really hit their stride on this sprawling 1984 release. ZEN ARCADE established the band as one of the leading lights on the American indie scene. The 23 songs are loosely linked to a narrative structure about a young man who leaves home, only to discover the world to be as oppressive and full of hypocrisy as home life had been. The songs show a marked increase in variety. Along with classic Mould scream-fests ("The Biggest Lie," "Chartered Trips"), there are goosebump-inducing mini-anthems ("Whatever," "Newest Industry"), songs of eerie beauty (Hart's bewitching ode to a dead friend, "Pink Turns to Blue") and over-the-top feedback-drenched experiments like the 14-minute instrumental closer "Reoccurring Dreams." With this album, the dichotomy between Mould and Hart became clearly defined. Mould's songs are built around his explosive growl, while Hart emerges as the "poppier" one on the acoustic "Never Talking to You Again" and "Turn on the News," one of Hnsker's finest moments ever.
Rolling Stone (11/89) - Ranked #33 in Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums Of The '80s survey. Spin - "...explodes the established boundaries of the hardcore genre..." Q (1/96, p.152) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...the sound is rough...[but] most of ZEN ARCADE is genuinely listenable....one of the great American punk albums..." Alternative Press (p.108) - "Twice as fast and twice as wide as their peers' best work, ZEN ARCADE cracked the genre's sonic palette open." Vibe (12/99, p.164) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century Mojo (Publisher) (3/03, p.76) - Ranked #11 in Mojo's "Top 50 Punk Albums" - "...Raging with metallic distress and great songs..." Mojo (Publisher) (3/01, pp.114-5) - "...Plausibly captures the sound of a heart breaking, such is the ferocity of the performances. Songwriters Grant Hart and Bob Mould push each other to the extremes of evisceration..."
In a relatively brief career that began in 1979 and ended in 1987, Husker Du left an indelible mark, making a great impact on subsequent rock trends including grunge, alternative, and emo. The Minneapolis trio had its first major success on the fabled SST label, playing thrashy hardcore. Soon the band began to leaven its fierce attack with melodic hooks and harmony vocals. Through uncompromising records and relentless touring, Husker Du earned critical plaudits and built up a reputation among rock aficionados before its acrimonious breakup. Singer Bob Mould went on to success with Sugar and as a solo artist.
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