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Flip Your Wig

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Album Review

Spot — SST's house producer who manned the boards for Zen Arcade and New Day Rising — didn't produce Flip Your Wig, Hüsker Dü's second album of 1985, and the difference is immediately noticeable. Everything on Flip Your Wig is cleaner and brighter than on its two immediate predecessors, which is appropriate, considering that Bob Mould and Grant Hart have only increased their debt to '60s pop. The hooks and melodies are on the surface, right from the kick-start call-and-response of the title track. On paper, it might sound as if Hüsker Dü have watered down their hardcore ideals, but it doesn't play that way. Flip Your Wig is pop played as punk, as if this is the only time these songs could ever be heard. Which means Hart's love song "Green Eyes" and Mould's pure pop single "Makes No Sense at All" are delivered with the same rage and passion as Mould's blistering "Divide and Conquer" and Hart's "Keep Hanging On," or the pair of surging, neo-psychedelic and noise-wracked instrumentals that close the album. Flip Your Wig would be a remarkable record on its own terms, but the fact that it followed New Day Rising by a matter of months and Zen Arcade by just over a year is simply astonishing.

Biography

Formed: 1979 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Hüsker Dü and R.E.M. were the two American post-punk bands of the '80s that changed the direction of rock & roll. R.E.M. became a superstar band; Hüsker Dü never was more than a cult favorite. Nevertheless, their albums between 1981 and 1987 have proven remarkably influential; they provided the sonic blueprint for the roaring punk-pop hybrid that crossed over into the mainstream in the early '90s. Not only did they shape the sound of the music, they shaped the way independent bands made the transition...
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