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New Day Rising

Hüsker Dü

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Album Review

For New Day Rising, the follow-up to their breakthrough double-album Zen Arcade, Hüsker Dü replaced concept with conciseness, concentrating on individual songs delivered as scalding post-hardcore pop. New Day Rising is not only a more vicious and relentless record than Zen Arcade, it's more melodic. Bob Mould and Grant Hart have written tightly crafted, melodic pop songs that don't compromise Hüsker's volcanic, unchecked power. Mould and Hart's songs owe a great deal to '60s pop, as the verses and choruses ebb and flow with immediately catchy hooks. Occasionally, the razor-thin production and waves of noise mean that it takes a little bit of effort to pick out the melodies, but more often the furious noise and melodies fuse together to create an overwhelming sonic force. It's possible to hear the rivalry between Mould and Hart on the album itself — each song is like a game of one-upmanship, as Mould responds to "The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill" with "Celebrated Summer." Neither songwriter slips — both turn in songs that are catchy, clever, and alternately wracked with pain or teeming with humor. New Day Rising is a positively cathartic record and ranks as Hüsker Dü's most sustained moment of pure power.

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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