Tag Archives: Hüsker Dü

Acclaimed Albums – New Day Rising by Hüsker Dü

List item: Listen to the 1000 Most Acclaimed Albums
Progress: 323/1000
Title: New Day Rising
Artist: Hüsker Dü
Year: 1985

Okay, so trying to find 1980s albums to listen to are getting a bit difficult. I’m to listen to artists in order and, where possible, listen to albums as my husband goes along. Wouldn’t you know that so many of these are either on the 1001 list or in 1970s… which I have slightly over-represented. So it may be high time to revisit Husker Du, even if it doesn’t feel like a particularly long time since I listened to Zen Arcade.

Moving on from Zen Arcade, New Day Rising is a slimmer album than its predecessor by about half an hour – to the point that despite it being just over 40 minutes long, it feels like it flies by so incredibly quickly. I know I must have an attention span issue when it comes to albums that are ‘longer’, but the editing that has been done here works to the albums favour. Like, I know Zen Arcade is meant to be their definitive album, and it does have a better stand out song, but I think I prefer New Day Rising.

Comparing the two, New Day Rising is not as melodic and does rely more on the distortion – so to find the actual melodies you have to work for them. However, there is something really satisfying in being able to enjoy the song first as a cool white noise with some of the melodies poking through and then, on a second listen, reap the rewards as you start to make things out.

I think it helps that this music is still not too heavy for my taste and is beginning to move away from the harsher punk sounds towards a more alt-rock vibe. Like, I can completely see that this is a transition record from Zen Arcade to their later more power pop sound – which is making me look forward to their next album a lot. However, for now that’s two good albums in a row and maybe, in a year or so, I’ll get around to enjoying more albums.

Acclaimed Albums – Zen Arcade by Hüsker Dü

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 239/250Title: Zen Arcade
Artist: Hüsker Dü
Year: 1984
Position: #223

There is nothing like it being the end of the calendar year to make you want to race to the end of goals. As of writing this I am halfway through December and I know that it is yet another year that I have been unable to finish out the 250. Doesn’t mean that I won’t try and narrow the gap as much as possible so I can complete in early 2021 (at this rate, to be posted in August/September 2021).

Zen Arcade has always been one of the longest albums in the 250 and, given how it has always hovered at the lower end, I didn’t want to dive into it lest it fall out of the list and I have had a rotten time listening to it. I guess a lot of my early experiences in having to plough through a lot of 1960s music I didn’t particularly like has really skewed my view on tackling a long album.

In retrospect, I should have done this earlier because Zen Arcade rocks. Sure, this is 70 minutes long with 20+ songs and a final instrumental jam track that is 14 minutes long, but this album helped birth alternative rock and it shows. Like, for me, this is a weird word to use for an album like this – but when I think about the scope of the album and what was around at the time, it is fearless.

Is this an album that works 100% of the time across the many tracks and the long runtime? Probably not. I mean, I wouldn’t say the entire line-up is necessary to this being a great album. Also, I don’t think that this really works as a ‘concept album’ as I didn’t quite get the story they were trying to tell. Then again, I think this might be more of them cosying up to what was happening in a lot of other rock albums at the time.

In the end through, Zen Arcade still managed to entertain. There’s only one track that I can really single out as being special – ‘Turn On The News’ – as the others all do a great job of running into each other. I also did enjoy the rock appropriation going on in ‘Hare Krsna’ – reminded me of better times when I would see them walking through the streets of London and chanting in their flowy orange get-up.