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Song of the Week: Bob Mould

Bob Mould is truly one of the punk rock greats. His groundbreaking band Hüsker Dü, in which he was ably abetted by drummer/singer Grant Hart and bassist Greg Norton, developed quickly beyond its loud-and-fast hardcore roots to incorporate more melody and -- gasp! -- pop hooks, setting the stage for the grunge era of the 1990s. (It's genuinely hard to imagine Nirvana without the precedent of Hüsker Dü.) Trouble is, the band didn't quite make it to that era and enjoy the widespread success it deserved, gasping to a halt in 1987. By all accounts the band's existence was preposterously creative (six full-length LPs in just five years, two of which were double albums) but emotionally draining; relentless touring and endless studio time kept the band in uncomfortably close proximity leading to an abrupt flameout which was perhaps, in retrospect, inevitable.

While perhaps inevitable, Mould took the band's implosion very hard, holing up in a Minnesota barn to pick up the shattered pieces and, not surprisingly, writing songs to make sense of it all. The end result of this period of introspection, Mould's 1989 solo debut Workbook, is a finely crafted but often painful glimpse of the tragic end of a relationship -- in this case, the relationship was with the band, and Hart and Norton, and everything it represented in Mould's life.

Just yesterday, Mould put one of his Workbook songs, "Sinners and Their Repentances", up on his site. I hadn't anticipated ever being able to feature one of Mould's songs here, since I have yet to find any which are available for free public consumption. But thanks to his generosity, which has an Ash Wednesday tie-in, this quietly powerful song is now available to all. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

February 22, 2007 in Music | Permalink


Here are some pics i took of him at the Taste of Minnesota a couple of years ago before I moved away...
Bob played at the Karl Mueller benefit and I was on my way into the club and found Grant Hart lost outside looking for the front door. It was a bit sad that many of the people there didn't realize who was playing with Bob that night.

Posted by: ana at Feb 25, 2007 8:00:57 PM