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Zen Arcade

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Editors’ Notes

Following the progress of the 1983 EP Metal Circus, Hüsker Dü released Zen Arcade, a double-LP concept album about a boy who leaves home and enters a dangerous world. It's Quadrophenia for the next generation. It has stood the test of time as one of the '80s indie rock scene's greatest achievements, working past its hardcore punk roots to include a chilling acoustic track ("Never Talking to You Again"), pastiches of surreal sound ("Hare Krsna," "Reoccurring Dreams"), and tuneful punk anthems ("Turn on the News," "What's Going On," "Something I Learned Today"). The advantage of one band having two formidable singers and songwriters—guitarist Bob Mould and drummer Grant Hart—meant there was no let-up in the material's quality. The desperation that seeps into tracks such as "Pride" and "I'll Never Forget You" is enhanced by the real pressures the band members felt as they recorded and mixed the whole album in 85 hours of studio time. This is hard indie rock performed in a pressure cooker.

Customer Reviews

Essential for All!

This is easily one of my favorite albums of all time! It is a flawless masterpiece of music and captures what punk rock is truly about. I find myself constantly listening to this album in its entirety because it's just so engaging. There is not a weak track on here, but some of my personal favorite tracks are: Chartered Trips, Whatever, and Turn On the News. However, if you are here reading this, then don't have any hesitation to buy the whole album now. Individually the tracks are great, but when you can just relax and listen to this whole thing, your mind will be blown!


An essential for any punk fan. Husker Du combine their Hardcore side and their ballad side really well on this album. Sounds even better on vinyl, but for convenience sake just buy this. Definately a must have.


It was a life changing experience for me when I purchased this vinyl double album in 1984.

This has been one of the finest yet under appreciated "Punk / alternative'' releases in the last 30 years.

It's sound and energy defines the genre.

It's about time SST records took the plunge and released it's material on I Tunes.


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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