For the month of May and with lockdown easing for a lot of people @yesokwaitmaybe and @jasonsammis have brought the #FavArtist series down from 25 to 15.
This would be quite a challenge as I have gone for Bob Mould. Which an massive discography of this works from Hüsker Dü to Sugar and his solo material, 15 songs really isn’t going to cut it. So I have broke it down to five each which will give a fair balance of Bob’s output.
There isn’t much videos out there so I will do the top 15 below and at the end there will be a link to Spotify for you to check out the selections I picked.
I was pleased with the response on Twitter from fellow music fans and feel that the choices I have made were good ones. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did putting this together.
15. I Don’t Know You Anymore – Beauty & Ruin (2014)
I loved the video for this . Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists) swoops in and gives Mould some funny advice on how to reach the modern day masses. The sketch in the beginning is full of comic send-ups of modern culture, with Meloy giving Mould advice on how to properly announce a record on social media, utilizing everything the internet has to offer, from Facebook to Blorph. Mould portrays the straight man willingly, takes all the advice in stride, and begins work on making I Don’t Know You Anymore the hottest single out there.
The music video segment features Mould and his bandmates dressing up in genius bar style outfits, making deals with record store owners, and going out on the street with fliers, all in order to draw hype for their “one of a kind, limited edition single.” It’s a silly jab at tech fascination as he doesn’t actually offer anything digital, just the single packaged in an Apple Store box, but the crowd’s reaction to them at the end is priceless.
14. See a Little Light – Workbook (1989)
Following the demise of Hüsker Dü , Mould’s Workbook was a surprising U-turn, showcasing his ability to craft the same passionate pleas through the medium of twelve-string salutes. The uplifting, life-affirming See a Little Light may be a little too positive for Mould purists, but it’s an anthem in itself and still resonates today.
13. Could You Be The One? – Hüsker Dü Warehouse: Songs and Stories (1987)
Hüsker Dü at their melodic best . The last real gasp from a band that was about to hit the wall on their final album.
The video that was filmed for the song was the band’s only video that had them performing on a sound stage as opposed to featuring live clips of them playing. The song was also performed on The Late Show With Joan Rivers
12. The Descent – Silver Age (2012)
This was the real return everyone wanted – Mould at his punk-infused, bile-spitting best. The Descent was that first glimpse of the rekindled flame, a Sugar-esque six-string blast that’s perfectly anchored by Mould’s unbeatable rhythm section of Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy.
11. Makes No Sense at All – Hüsker Dü Flip Your Wig (1985)
Flip Your Wig is Mould’s favorite record from Hüsker Dü. The album was named after a Beatles board game! By this stage the band had signed to Warner Brothers but out of respect for their previous label, SST they released it with them.
Makes No Sense at All is a super simple song. One of those handful of songs in Mould’s catalogue that has so far stood the test of time and he never gets tired of paying it.
10. Sweet Serene – The Last Dog and Pony Show (1998)
Mould was tired of his imposed identity as the angry young man of rock. The Last Dog and Pony Show was a consolidation of his strengths – heart-heavy lyrics, pounding melodies and a load of guitars. Sweet Serene is the pick of the bunch, a ramshackle ride that’s aided by Mould’s twisting, turbo-charged fretwork.
9. Tilted – Sugar Beaster (1993)
At first listen you think Beaster is going to be an acoustic album but Come Around lures the listener into a false sense of security until Tilted starts. A headlong plunge with Mould’s vocals tripping over themselves in a futile attempt to keep pace as the guitars take the listener further down into the abyss at break-neck speed.
8. I Hate Alternative Rock Hubcap (1996)
In the wake of Smells Like Teen Spirit all you have to do is take a look at modern rock in 1995 and you can guess what Mould is rallying about. One band got it so right that the whole world changed, and in four years, everyone flogged it to death. In 1995 Mould wrote this song, there were a lot of bands where he thought, “I f**king hate this band and wish they would go away.” The original title was, I Hate F**king Alternative Rock and Wish It Would Go Away. It was a little long, so he shortened it.
7. JC Auto – Sugar Beaster (1993)
Despite Copper Blue’s success, its immediate aftermath left Mould burned out by overwork and watching his relationship with his manager/boyfriend slowly crumble. He channelled this angst into Beaster, a six-track mini-album that arrived seven months after Copper Blue, and served as that album’s dark afterbirth, its lyric sheet using religious symbolism and Catholic angst as a route to wider catharsis.
Every bit Copper Blue’s equal – but an undeniably tougher listen – Beaster peaked on JC Auto, in particular its chorus, “I look like Jesus Christ/ I act like Jesus Christ/ I know I know I know I know”, barked over a breeze block-wielding riff and repeated again and again, until it feels like punishment or penance.
Beaster reached No 3 in the UK albums chart.
6. Hardly Getting Over It – Hüsker Dü Candy Apple Grey (1986)
The lyrics are very literal. It’s a very clear picture of a family and mortality in its different forms — family who pass away and how one handles it when it happens. A song I can relate to following the death of my parents six months between each other.
5. Changes – Sugar Copper Blue (1992)
Copper Blue was NME’s album of the year. Cathal Coughlan formely of Microdisney and The Fatima Mansions reviewed it on the 25 July 1992 edition of the weekly music magazine, “Sort of restores your faith in human beings, really. I’d be surprised if that wasn’t Single Of The Week.”
He wasn’t far wrong. NME included it in their end of year compilation album of the same year.
4. New Day Rising – Hüsker Dü New Day Rising (1985)
New Day Rising is the best pop record a hardcore band has ever made. This feels like a very odd statement considering the almost vitriolic power behind hardcore, but that’s what makes New Day Rising, and Hüsker Dü exciting—that a band could be have this almost punishing power, yet still have a strong melodic backbone to their songs, even if said melodic backbone is draped in fuzz and pushed by an intangible force.
3. The Act We Act – Sugar Copper Blue (1992)
Mould’s second power trio saw him return to electric guitar, and the opening track to Sugar’s 1992 debut LP Copper Blue was overloaded with enough hooks, riffs and flourishes to fill a lesser artist’s entire album. The Act We Act suggested My Bloody Valentine applying their ear-melting assault to the 12-string jangle and chime of the Byrds. Its perfect balance of might and melody set the tone for the album’s embarrassment of riches.
2. Celebrated Summer – Hüsker Dü New Day Rising (1985)
Released five months after Zen Arcade, New Day Rising built upon its predecessor’s melodic flowering. The album’s standout found Grant Hart’s knitting-machine drums powering a whirlwind of fuzz-toned major chords, as Mould waxed nostalgic about summers past: “Getting drunk out on the beach, or playing in a band/ And getting out of school meant getting out of hand.”
- If I Can’t Change Your Mind – Sugar – Copper Blue (1992)
The stand out track from the album. Bob Mould knows how to write great rock songs but he also creates some well crafted pop songs.
The perfect end to my top 15. This track got to no.30 in UK charts.