“I Don’t Know You Anymore”

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Sorry I’ve been away.  Life, television, naps, and other miscellanea have kept me busy.  And I’ve still got to put my laundry away.

But the music has kept flowing over here.  I got a sizable iTunes gift card from my good friend who’s always helping me out, and I had some money in the account because of the rewards from my credit card.  So I decided to spend most of that money rocking out.  I jumped onto the Sleater-Kinney bandwagon (finally!), and was darn glad I did.  I got kind of artsy with Pere Ubu’s second album, Dub Housing (brilliant stuff).  And I managed to considerably beef up my Bob Mould collection.

I added Mould’s solo albums Beauty and Ruin and Silver Age to my library, and both are awesome!  “I Don’t Know You Anymore” is from Beauty and Ruin, and it’s one of the most perfect songs I’ve ever heard.  I also got Husker Du’s Zen Arcade because everyone should have that amazing Punk album.  I’ve had it on cassette for many years, but it was high time for some kind of upgrade.  My love for Bob Mould is just growing exponentially–and I already loved him a lot.  He just keeps creating terrific music filled with every emotion from rage to love.

New music just makes me happy.  And I’ve still got a little left for more. 🙂

“If I Can’t Change Your Mind”

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I record The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on the DVR, and the recording always begins while Letterman’s musical guest is still playing.  The other day, Bob Mould was playing his brilliant song “See a Little Light”. Apparently there’s a 25th anniversary re-release of Workbook out that I’m probably going to have to get.  The few seconds I saw just served to remind me how much I love this guy.  

Sugar was his second band, formed some years after Husker Du dissolved into acrimony.  They were terrific, and one of the best tunes they did was “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” which is one of Mould’s plaintive I-know-you’re-gonna-leave-me-but-I-don’t-know-why songs.  Usually, I listen to it two or three times in a row.  It’s like potato chips: you’ can’t have just one.  But this isn’t just musical junk food.  The jangly guitars and emo boy lyrics are the perfect combination, hiding the angry edge present in so much of Mould’s work.  It’s one of those songs I can’t find a single thing wrong with.

I usually like to post the original version of a song when I can, and there’s a pretty good  video for “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” that I’d never seen before.  But my search also turned up this fairly recent (judging from Mould’s beard, glasses, and lack of hairline) performance for the A.V. Club which was just amazing.  He’s so wonderfully self-deprecating in the little intro, so don’t skip it.

Repost: “See a Little Light”

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Note:  This is just a little repost from the early days of the jukebox.  Now with 100% more video!

Husker Du (sorry, I have never been able to figure out how to do umlauts and accents and things) is one of the legendary post-punk bands.  I like them, but I didn’t hear them until long after I’d heard Bob Mould’s post-HD music.

“See a little Light” is probably the first time I heard him (which makes sense, since it was the first single off his first solo album).  I was instantly hooked.  The acoustic strumming that opens it is undeniable.  There’s something in it, an emotion bigger than the chords themselves, I’ve never been able to put my finger on.  The whole song is like that.  I waver between sad and happy when I listen.  The chorus is extremely catchy.  I mean, I get why the song wasn’t a huge hit; it strikes me as a little too cerebral for the Top 40, possibly a little too bipolar, too (what with the mood swings and all).  But, c’mon: “When I see a little light, I know you will, I can see it in your eyes, I know you still care.  But if you want me to go, you should just say so.”  Tell me Kelly Clarkson wouldn’t kill for those lines.  Even though he knows the relationship is over, he’s still hoping to put it back together.

Hope.  That’s what I hear in those opening chords.  It’s the most hopeful opening riff I’ve ever heard.  It runs through the whole song.  Mould structures everything perfectly to create an atmosphere of hope radiating throughout what sounds like a hopeless situation.  After all, “I guess I should have known. . . you’re already saying goodbye.”  The guy in this song could be praying to Saint Jude just as easily as he’s begging his lover to stay.  But there’s no way he’ll stay (yeah, “he”; Mould is gay).  The end of this relationship is no mystery to the singer, probably why he’s so resigned to the inevitable.

I love this song.  It’s one of my two favorites by him (the other is Sugar’s “If I Can’t Change Your Mind”).  I don’t know if it’s a favorite because it’s so accessible, or because it’s the first one I heard by him (favorite TP & the Heartbreakers song is “You Got Lucky” because I heard it first).  Some of his solo and Husker Du work is less accessible.  Part of me thinks this is because it’s so personal there isn’t room for anybody else in the music.  I had a poetry teacher tell me once that I needed to make room for the reader in my poems.  If you write so personally, so self-referentially, that no one else understands the experience, then there’s no room for anyone else to experience the emotions you’re trying to get across.  I feel that way about Bob Mould’s work a lot.  He has acknowledged that he often wrote/writes from a place of anger, and while anger can be conveyed universally, it’s a little harder to open up to the world that way.  You really write for yourself when you’re angry.  The trick is conveying that emotion to other people, making them feel what you’re feeling.  And that is the difference between angry and other feelings.  It’s easier to access happiness or heartbreak. Or in this case, hope in the face of hopelessness.

“See a Little Light”

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Husker Du (sorry, I have never been able to figure out how to do umlauts and accents and things) is one of the legendary post-punk bands.  I like them, but I didn’t hear them until long after I’d heard Bob Mould’s post-HD music.

“See a little Light” is probably the first time I heard him (which makes sense, since it was the first single off his first solo album).  I was instantly hooked.  The acoustic strumming that opens it is undeniable.  There’s something in it, an emotion bigger than the chords themselves, I’ve never been able to put my finger on.  The whole song is like that.  I waver between sad and happy when I listen.  The chorus is extremely catchy.  I mean, I get why the song wasn’t a huge hit; it strikes me as a little too cerebral for the Top 40, possibly a little too bipolar, too (what with the mood swings and all).  But, c’mon: “When I see a little light, I know you will, I can see it in your eyes, I know you still care.  But if you want me to go, you should just say so.”  Tell me Kelly Clarkson wouldn’t kill for those lines.  Even though he knows the relationship is over, he’s still hoping to put it back together.

Hope.  That’s what I hear in those opening chords.  It’s the most hopeful opening riff I’ve ever heard.  It runs through the whole song.  Mould structures everything perfectly to create an atmosphere of hope radiating throughout what sounds like a hopeless situation.  After all, “I guess I should have known. . . you’re already saying goodbye.”  The guy in this song could be praying to Saint Jude just as easily as he’s begging his lover to stay.  But there’s no way he’ll stay (yeah, “he”; Mould is gay).  The end of this relationship is no mystery to the singer, probably why he’s so resigned to the inevitable.

I love this song.  It’s one of my two favorites by him (the other is Sugar’s “If I Can’t Change Your Mind”).  I don’t know if it’s a favorite because it’s so accessible, or because it’s the first one I heard by him (favorite TP & the Heartbreakers song is “You Got Lucky” because I heard it first).  Some of his solo and Husker Du work is less accessible.  Part of me thinks this is because it’s so personal there isn’t room for anybody else in the music.  I had a poetry teacher tell me once that I needed to make room for the reader in my poems.  If you write so personally, so self-referentially, that no one else understands the experience, then there’s no room for anyone else to experience the emotions you’re trying to get across.  I feel that way about Bob Mould’s work a lot.  He has acknowledged that he often wrote/writes from a place of anger, and while anger can be conveyed universally, it’s a little harder to open up to the world that way.  You really write for yourself when you’re angry.  The trick is conveying that emotion to other people, making them feel what you’re feeling.  And that is the difference between angry and other feelings.  It’s easier to access happiness or heartbreak. Or in this case, hope in the face of hopelessness.