Alright, so, dude was in some good bands back in the day -- Hüsker Dü and Sugar. Since `96, he’s steadily put out solo records. He stopped playing guitar and shit in 1998 because rock music got pretty lame and he “got in touch with himself” and discovered club and dance music. After a brief foray into that kinda stuff with Modulate, he started playing guitar and with a band again. So, do the math, Sherlock, and you’ll find out that the two records after that one sound like a mix between Sugar and the electronica shit. And that’s where we’re at today. Album’s the type of alternative rock you’d expect a 50-year-old to be playing.
Alright, so, this mother kicks off with the title track, “Life and Times,” right? It’s a pretty normal Bob Mould pop song. It’s pretty much the same song he’s written his entire career, to be honest. But it’s good, so I’ll let it slide. It’s got acoustic and electric guitars and some other world electronica “instruments” I’m not familiar with but respect ‘cause he’s the artist, ya heard me? In the bridge, it’s got a nice vocal hook that caught my ears. It’s the part where he’s like, “It’s the old life and ti-ii-i-imes.” Shit’s right. “Mm 17" (Mile marker 17 for the abbvtn-retarded) is another piece of ace work. Intro sounds like a sped-up version of the intro to “Return to Dust” on the previous record. Seriously, it’s like, “You may be getting old, Bob, but the punk police don’t stop for shit.” Anyway, lyrically, it’s about someone he doesn’t like appearing in his dreams, or maybe that’s a metaphor or something. “Argos” is a really nice surprise. Kicks off with a 1-2-3-4 hi-hat count-off and it’s like, “Yo, whattup, New Day Rising?” He’s def. been listening to some “I Apologize.” That’s side 1.
Side 2 keeps it coming with “Bad Blood Better” but it starts on kind of a down note. Nice little repeating line where he goes, “Bad blood better / no blood at all.” Kind of interesting. Then the electric guitar comes in in the background and then, fuck, that solo hits. Dude’s tone has always been outta sight but DAMN. He goes to town on that one for sure. It ends abruptly but appropriately given the lyrical content. Then “Wasted World.” Here’s a first: Someone talking shit ABOUT the internet.
The single, “I’m Sorry, Baby, But You can’t Stand in My Light Anymore” is a trip. Definitely a landmark for him, lyrically. It’s like, “Yo, I’m fucked up too.” Read these words: “I always find the broken ones / What does that say about me? / maybe I’m the broken one / maybe when the lights go down / maybe I’m the one who feels lonely.” And then there’s the last song, “Lifetime.” Maybe it’s a tribute to the band that covered one of his old band’s songs once. But anyway, it’s got this droney piano-ish electronic thing going with the vocals and drums. Really interesting sounding. Like it a lot.
Other than that, artwork’s pretty sweet too. I feel like it matches the mood of the album real well. It’s funny, too. Pictures of a desert and beach inside it. It’s like, “the fuck’s this? A beach AND a desert?” Back cover made me laugh too. He’s right by that “Police Line: Do Not Cross” thing that they put up when McNulty creates that serial killer in "The Wire" so he can give Marlo what he’s got coming to him. It’s like, “Still fuckin’ with ‘em after all these years. Go Bob!”
Oh yeah, props to Jon Wurster on the drum kit. Complements Bob’s work real nicely. But it’s about Bob, so kinda fuck him, in a way.
But that’s just how I see it.