Wednesday, March 29, 2006

How many of you have listened to this album, Zen Arcade? If you haven't and liked Nirvana and similar bands, then you owe it to yourself to check this one out. First off, this album was originally released on the SST label family. Husker Du was a hardcore band that took innovation past the threshold within a genre not known for evolving beyond loud and fast. The alternative rock concept was yet to be conceived in 1983, as well. So what in the hell were they, then? They were originals, the vanguard, practically unknowns.

Here's what you need to know: Bob Mould is a guitar wielding beast. Need proof? Just listen to his solo album "Black Sheets of Rain" and the album "Copper Blue" from his group Sugar. He also has a keen lyrical sense and infuses his white noise raging with melody. This is why I can listen to "When Pink Turns to Blue" and feel the horror and the sadness of discovering the girlfriend dead from an overdose. Variety is the word: most hardcore can get "samey" real fast. Not Zen Arcade, however. The album needs to be taken in as a whole. It changes with fluidity and where the seams get ripped in transition, it feels appropriate. It is a concept album.

The feeling of never getting to leave your hometown. That loneliness of being left behind. The defeat of moving away in spite, then realizing that you're screwed. The pain of being abused, drug addiction, and settling for the safe hometown job and girlfriend, only to see all your dreams go down the drain. It is depressing as hell, but it is an emotional journey. One that many kids have gone through in one way or another. I have had a portion of this story played out in my life. I can feel it, touch it, and taste it. It is bitter, but the music and the words console me. It calls out to me with understanding that someone knows, and the loneliness is shared. It says to me, "A shared burden is less heavy".

What is a Zen Arcade? It is a place where you play and get played. A place where peace is for sale, but at a price unattainable. Where the games that you play take you further away from your best intentions, with every quarter spent. It is, in every sense, Pleasure Island. I hope you come back.


Vera said...

why are you *here*??
why aren't you off on a crazy-assed-dr.moreau-ian-psychadelic island somewhere writing and spending your money on crates of werther's original butterscotch candies, singing to canaries and butterflies and having crazy hot monkey love (sans monkeys) with a harem of devoted women being all eccentric and showing people how to live *that* way and not *here* this way? i suppose the answer is in the question... i rambled it somewhere, that living is where you are right now and being passionate about where you are right now... kudos man... you have a bloody gift and it brings me to tears.

verification word: pdasucqs
People that own PDAs suck. PDASUCQS0RZZZ!

Mwmw said...

I do not remember when this song came out, but I have LOVED it since. Sometimes I want to start singing it in someone's face.

"Got something to say
like something to me
well just go ahead and spit it out
It's all the same, you see
What's that, it doesn't make sense
Are you talking in tongues
or is your brain out of gear
I can hear it rattle in your head
I can see you lips move

Blah Blah Blah
but all I hear is"

Hüsker Dü ... another great post.