Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Art of the Cover - Hüsker Dü's "Zen Arcade" (1984)

Great adorns this incredible double album from seminal midwestern punksters Grant Hart, Bob Mould and Greg Norton ... aka  Hüsker Dü'.

Real nice cover photography, indeed. One embellished in a "hand coloured" style, that transforms a rather grim and very mundane scene from a junkyard into a thing of beauty!

Along with bands like the Minutemen and Black Flag (all intelligent, aggressive bands with talent to spare), this great group (and this great album) really made its mark on the rather bleak bland music landscape of the Eighties.

Originally released as a double album on two vinyl LPs, the quasi concept album Zen Arcade tells the story of a young boy who runs away from an unfulfilling home life, only to find the world outside is even worse.

The innovative album really breaks the mould (no pun!) in this genre, incorporating elements of jazz, psychedelia, acoustic folk, pop, and piano interludes - all concepts previously unheard of in the world of hardcore punk.

The most amazing thing about the album is that with the exception of a few songs, everything on here was "first take".

One of the band's greatest tracks "I'll Never Forget You" is here in all its gut-wrenching emotional glory.

Although some find this album abrasive on first listen, repeated sessions reveal the inner workings and interplay of the music and the players.

While not commercially successful, the influence of Zen Arcade has stretched beyond the underground music sphere, and it is frequently included on lists of the all-time best rock and roll albums and continues to have a cult following.


Zen Arcade was released on Double LP, single single CD and Cassette.


Side one

01.Something I Learned Today
02.Broken Home, Broken Heart
03.Never Talking To You Again
04.Chartered Trips
05.Dreams Recurring
06.Indecision Time
07.Hare Krsna

Side two
08.Beyond The Threshold
10.I'll Never Forget You
11.The Biggest Lie
12.What's Going On
13.Masochism World
14.Standing By The Sea 
Side three
16.One Step At A Time
17.Pink Turns To Blue
18.Newest Industry
19.Monday Will Never Be The Same
21.The Tooth Fairy And The Princess 

Side four
22.Turn On The News
23.Recurring Dreams 

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