Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade (Cover Artwork)

Hüsker Dü

Hüsker Dü: Zen ArcadeZen Arcade (1984)
SST Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: boldredlettersboldredletters
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I was perusing the review archives and I couldn't believe that this album hasn't been reviewed - and is barely even mentioned. Take just about any modern punk band that uses distortion, and chances are listening to this album will reveal a major influence: Hot Water Music and the whole "bearded ro.

I was perusing the review archives and I couldn't believe that this album hasn't been reviewed - and is barely even mentioned. Take just about any modern punk band that uses distortion, and chances are listening to this album will reveal a major influence: Hot Water Music and the whole "bearded rock" crowd, As Friends Rust, even Nirvana; any band "emo" in the true sense of the word.

The first time I listened to this album, I swore there had to be a seperate lead singer and lead guitarist. The vocals are incredibly intense and are laid over rapid fire guitar work, whether its a wall of distortion or astounding instrumental sections that race up and down the frets. It turns out, however, that Husker Du is only a three piece. Considering that fact makes the diversity of the disc all the more phenomenal.

"Something I Learned Today" kicks the album off at an upbeat punk pace, and the vocals of Mould don't let down the entire song. At their fastest, Husker Du can be compared to Leatherface in the "Cherry Knowle" era - great riffs and bellows. Then there are tracks like "I'll Never Forget You" and "What's Going On," which are slower paced and downright haunting... it is a shame that this album came out the year I was born, because I would've loved to see the vocalist screaming "I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU!" during the frantic closing of the former. Drummer Grant Hart also contributes the lead vocals on some tracks, and these are certainly not to be overlooked. The bass lines are also phenomenal.

There isn't really much to say about "Zen Arcade." I could go through song by song explaining why each one is great.... but simply put, this is one of those rare albums that everyone on this site would probably be able to appreciate, and a great album for anyone just getting into punk.


People who liked this also liked:
Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyJawbreaker - Dear YouMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyHüsker Dü - New Day RisingHüsker Dü - Metal CircusAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseFugazi - Repeater + 3 SongsDillinger Four - Midwestern Songs of the AmericasFugazi - 13 SongsOperation Ivy - Operation Ivy

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
iamnotarobotadam (October 1, 2012)

Masterpiece. That's all there is to it

TommyPickles (March 20, 2008)

This is a classic. Husker Du has done a lot of good shit but this release by far is their greatest.

totalstranga (July 26, 2006)

I started with Candy Apple Grey and worked backwards to the punkier stuff. glad I did. imo this is their masterpiece

Anonymous (October 30, 2005)

great album, anyone who doesn't like it should be tied down and have a giant rock dropped on their penis

Anonymous (March 6, 2005)

I heard "8 Miles High" on CBC radio and ran out and bought New Day Rising (the only Husker album they had) at my local record shop in Detwat, MI, not knowing what to expect . . . fell in love . . . still got a copy of it, still listening to it. My teenager thinx it sux, compared to Blowing for Soup . . . but he weren't alive in 85--what's he know? Husker Du saved my life--

Anonymous (December 5, 2004)

There were two outtakes,good stuff...

rrzon (October 23, 2004)

This album fucking rules all.

boldredletters (September 30, 2004)

they can be compared to them because they both exist? comparing doesn't imply that one precedes the other.

Anonymous (September 17, 2004)

Grant Hart did not just provide some vocals?! What would Hüsker Dü be without him? Just imagine Zen Arcade without Pink turns blue, New day rising without Girl on heaven hill and so on. Furthermore, in my opinion you mix up cause and effect or why do you say that they can be compared to Leatherface??

Anonymous (January 15, 2004)

hüsker dü are great. i especially love new day rising

Anonymous (December 9, 2003)

why the fuck is punknews.org letting teenagers do reviews.thats just stupid.

Anonymous (November 3, 2003)

My favorite album of all time. Just blew me away when it came out and still sounds as fresh and powerful today. I cannot receomend this enought to anyone that likes loud, chainsaw guitar poured over great hooks. They scream, the go acoustic, they loop, they have a rocking metal tune and above all they play real hard fast and good.

Anonymous (November 3, 2003)

This band is good, R.E.M. sucks, though.

Anonymous (November 1, 2003)

I might have reviewed a couple...a long time ago. ya know back before it was flooded by militant "music experts" not saying that about all of you...anyway, this band is awesome...always will be. husker du and R.E.M. are the two crucial 80's bands. you shouls all own the albums "reckoning" and "fables of the reconstruction"...coldjuly (not that any would remember)

Anonymous (October 31, 2003)

amazing album. probably the best thing i've seen reviewed on this site. i think husker du might be my favorite band ever. listen to this, as well as all their other albums.

Anonymous (October 31, 2003)

wheres the review for the new inspection12 record

TheOneTrueBill (October 30, 2003)

Ha! you're hilarious

Anonymous (October 30, 2003)

Uh...no...this came out in 1984 I believe.

Anonymous (October 30, 2003)

Damn ... I cant believe Husker Do is still making new albums. Rock On!

loud_32 (October 30, 2003)

yeah great albumn

REALPUNX4LIFE (October 29, 2003)

What's with the website-centric reviews? "I noticed that no one else had reviewed this record on this website!" That seems like a pretty weak reason to sit down and write a review, not that this guy put too much effort into it. But about every older record that gets reviewed has that same tagline on it. We don't really care if you think it's odd that no one has decided to review this record until now. Why hasn't anyone reviewed the Onion Flavored Rings record? Who cares why?

Mr_Pink (October 29, 2003)

Thunder Mountain Railroad.

funkisdead (October 29, 2003)

"Zen Arcade got me next and still I adore Hüsker Dü for the manic ride they took me to."
splash mountain?

Anonymous (October 29, 2003)

yea i know....but its still a tough record to listen too
-pat money

Anonymous (October 29, 2003)

I've always been partial to the Metal Circus EP - I know it's not their best but I still think it rocks....

Anonymous (October 29, 2003)

The first alb i bought was New Day rising and it blew me away. (When does that review appear??) Hüsker Dü is what Emo could have been if it had guts. Zen Arcade got me next and still I adore Hüsker Dü for the manic ride they took me to.

Anonymous (October 29, 2003)

The reviewer wrote:

"There isn't really much to say about "Zen Arcade."

What the FUCK?!?!?! Awful awful review.

jheisel (October 29, 2003)

I never got that into Zen Arcade, but New Day Rising is the fucking bomb and a half.

And to the guy below me, back in the day of these big plastic things called "records," this was released as a double album, essentially alleviating the problem you feel.

Then CDs came along, and you had to use the "program" button to do the same thing. Good luck!

Anonymous (October 29, 2003)

i think this is a great record. Personally, i think it could have been broken into 2 separete releases because half of the record is predominatly hard and fast whilest the other half is rather slow and reasonably melodic. Of course, one could contend that what i suggested would render the experience of listening to this record as a "concept album" meaningless. On the other hand, it still is pretty difficult to dredge through about 70 minutes of music in one setting, let alone 2 35 minute halves.
-pat money

Anonymous (October 29, 2003)

it's still not cool to be gay. it would be great if it was, but it isn't

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

they were gay before it was cool to be gay.

gay trailblazers.

i would suck bob moulds cock.


Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

You're right! Grant Hart and Bob Mould are both gay!!!! You're so smart!!!!

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

this band was so gay

cdogg (October 28, 2003)

What a phenomenal album. I can't believe that no one has yet mentioned one of the main aspects that makes this album so unique, especially in the punk world. It's a concept album that tells a story (albeit loosely) of a young man's journey - leaving the safety of home and traveling into the world alone. Granted, we're probably not going to be seeing any rock operas of this anytime soon a la The Who's "Tommy," but it's still a cool idea. The sad thing is that many kids in the scene today have never even heard of these guys, let alone heard this album in its entirety. The whole CD is filled with stand out tracks, but for some reason "Chartered Trips" is usually the first song I think of when I think of this album. Maybe it has something to do with my affinity for nylon carry-alls...
One more thing- is it me, or does the beginning of Smashing Pumpkins "1979" sound suspiciously similiar to the beginning of "What's Going On?"

BSD (October 28, 2003)


TheOneTrueBill (October 28, 2003)

Older than me. I GOT YOU GUYS BEAT!

funkisdead (October 28, 2003)

yeah, old as me too.

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

great album, pitiful review

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

Yesterday, today, tomorrow...all the perfect time to listen to this record.

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

"wow this album is as old as i am..."
Youngin' uh...

TheOneTrueBill (October 28, 2003)


Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

This is one of the albums that I'd say got me into punk music. I bought in 1988 and haven't looked back since.

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

bob mould rocks.

this album is great. i had and like a dumb ass sold it to buy other stuff.

funkisdead (October 28, 2003)

funkisdead, but husker du will live forever.

FortyMinutesWest (October 28, 2003)

I love this album.

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

this album is better than almost everything else that's ever been reviewed on this site. downright chilling.

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

wow this album is as old as i am...
good times, good times.

Mr_Pink (October 28, 2003)

One of the best albums on the planet. I didn't get it at all when I was a kid and first bought it, because I was really into the more poppy Husker Du material. But the more I heard it, the more I noticed the really great melodies hiding below all that distortion. Listening to this for the first few times is like peeling away at an onion. I get something new out of it every time I play it. Zen Arcade will never get old. And "What's Going On" is awesome. A simple song with truthful lyrics turned into a manic blowout. If I could score this album a 20, I would.

Hulka (October 28, 2003)

The songs are solid, but the muddy production (even by 1984 SST standards) makes it hard to get used to.

notfeelingcreative (October 28, 2003)

Definately a classic, anyone who doesn't own this should pick it up as soon as the oppurtunity should arise.

Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

this album changed my life.


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