Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade (Cover Artwork)

Hüsker Dü

Zen Arcade (1984)


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.