Music: Hüsker Dü
"Walking around with your head in the clouds
It makes no sense at all"
—Hüsker Dü, "Makes No Sense At All"
It makes no sense at all"
—Hüsker Dü, "Makes No Sense At All"
Hüsker Dü were an American Hardcore Punk/Alternative Rock band from Minneapolis, MN who were together from 1979-1988. They were composed of singer/guitarist/lyricist Bob Mould, bassist Greg Norton and drummer/lyricist Grant Hart. While they never had a hit record, among their most well-known work is the Concept Album Zen Arcade, the follow-up New Day Rising, their Cover Version of The Byrds' "Eight Miles High," and their single "Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely," which was notably featured in the film Adventureland and covered by Green Day. They are regarded as seminal in the creation of the Alternative Rock and Post-Hardcore genres.Rising tensions between the two primary songwriters, Mould and Hart, eventually led to the band's breakup in 1988. Since then, Mould and Hart have launched their own solo careers, while Norton became a restauratuer in the Twin Cities. Bob Mould has released an autobiography, while Grant Hart was the subject of a documentary, Every Everything, The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart.As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.
"New Tropes Rising":
- All Just a Dream: The first twenty songs of Zen Arcade, given "The Tooth Fairy and the Princess" (song twenty-one).
- Alternative Rock: One of the first alternative bands to sign to a major label.
- Awesome McCool Name: Grantzberg Vernon Hart.
- Badass Mustache: Greg Norton.
- Blah Blah Blah: They have a song with this title.
- Breakup Breakout: Bob Mould and Grant Hart both pursued solo careers following Husker Du's breakup. While neither artist is quite mainstream, Mould would appear to be a lot more popular, as his listeners on last.fm outnumber Grant Hart's ten to one and he played on two Foo Fighters songs.
- Concept Album: Zen Arcade, which tells the story of a youth who leaves his unfulfilling home life to find that the world outside is even worse.
- Cover Version: "Eight Miles High", Donovan's "Sunshine Superman", and the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
- Crapsack World: Pretty much.
- Dance Sensation: "Do The Bee".
- "Days of the Week" Song : "Monday Will Never Be The Same".
- Does Not Like Shoes: Grant Hart usually drummed without shoes.
- Downer Ending: The band's collapse after failing to find commercial success.
- Drugs Are Bad: "Pink Turns to Blue" is about a girl who overdoses and dies.
- Echoing Acoustics: a common feature of the production on their studio albums, especially the later ones.
- Epic Rocking: "Reoccuring Dreams" clocks in at 13:47.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: Shortly after "Ice Cold Ice" fades out, a final chord is played at the song's original volume.
- Hardcore Punk
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Even though they're not a Metal band. Probably ironic.
- Instrumentals: "Reoccurring Dreams," from Zen Arcade.
- Live Album: Two of them. Their full-length debut, Land Speed Record, and The Living End, a compilation released after the band collapsed.
- Lonely Piano Piece: "One Step at a Time" and "Monday Will Never Be the Same."
- Looped Lyrics: "New Day Rising" has no lyrics besides the song's title. "Plans I Make" has a brief loop of "I gotta make plans for the plans I make / Gotta have plans for the friends I make / I gotta have friends for the friends I make / Gotta have friends for the plans I make / Go make plans." After the first minute, the rest of the lyrics are "go" and "make plans."
- Meaningful Name: The band's name was taken from a board game, the title of which means "Do you remember?" in Danish and Norwegian. The band added the Heävy Mëtal Ümlauts.
- Miniscule Rocking: Land Speed Record packs 17 songs into 26 1/2 minutes.
- Minneapolis/St. Paul: Robert Street (an actual thoroughfare in St. Paul, not a person) is mentioned in "Diane."
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly a 6-7 on their early albums, mostly 5-6 later on (though they have some songs, i.e. "Never Talking To You Again", "Perfect Example", "Too Far Down" and "Hardly Getting Over It", that drop below this point).
- Murder Ballad: "Diane", which was apparently based on the real-life rape and murder of West St. Paul waitress Diane Edwards by Joseph Ture in 1980.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Their experimental side is probably best seen on Zen Arcade. While still basically a hardcore punk album at its core, the band's songwriting had become noticeably more melodic, and experimented with elements of folk, psychedelic, and piano interludes.
- New Sound Album:
- Either Everything Falls Apart, Metal Circus, or Zen Arcade (depending on the listener's perspective) is where their songwriting became melody-based enough to differentiate them from traditional hardcore.
- Flip Your Wig had a much more polished production than their previous records. The band's next two albums would continue in this domain.
- Noise Rock: Some of their instrumentals lean in this direction.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Terms of Psychic Warfare"
- Odd Friendship: Punk rocker Grant Hart ended up becoming close friends with novelist, essayist, and painter William S. Burroughs.
- Pop Punk: An influence on the genre, and their later songs serve as examples.
- Post-Hardcore: One of the Trope Makers with their addition of melody and experimentation to Hardcore Punk.
- Protest Song:
- "In A Free Land".
- "Folk Lore", combined with Adults Are Useless.
- Pun-Based Title: Land Speed Record refers both to the ferocious speed of the material and the band's fondness (at the time) for amphetamines.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mould was the Red Oni, with his more aggressive songs, while Hart was the Blue Oni, with his more introspective songs.
- Rock Trio
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: "Gilligan's Island":"Gilligan's Island
Is where I wanna be
I wanna fuck Ginger
Underneath a big palm tree
I wanna make the professor
Make some good drugs for me
Oh Gilligan's Island
Is where I wanna be"
- Single Stanza Song:
- "New Day Rising" is just the title repeated over and over.
- "If I Told You".
- Sociopathic Soldier: "You're a Soldier", of the "joined up to kill" variety.
- Strawman News Media: "Turn on the News" attacks sensationalism.
- Straight Gay:
- While it had been an open secret in the punk community for some time, Bob Mould officially came out as gay in the early 90's.
- Grant Hart has been variously described as either gay or bisexual. The Every Everything documentary reveals that he had a son from a heterosexual relationship early on in his career, but most of his adult relationships have been with men.
- While the band was together rumors swirled around Greg Norton (mostly due to his handlebar mustache), the one band member who's actually straight.
- Studio Chatter: Mould, at the end of "Plans I Make," the last song on New Day Rising, says, "It's the end of the album."
- Subtext: Mould is gay and Hart is bisexual, although this was not widely publicised at the time the band was active. This knowledge adds an extra layer of meaning to songs like "The Biggest Lie", which thereby becomes a very different song. (Note that, while it was rumoured that Hart and Mould were romantically involved and their tensions were a reason for the band's breakup, both of them have flatly denied this).
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Being a Hardcore Punk band, any of their acoustic songs count- especially the two on Candy Apple Grey. "Hardly Getting Over It" even has a synthesizer solo!
- Uncommon Time: "Masochism World"
- Vocal Tag Team