Probably the most lauded of all Hüsker Dü albums, New Day Rising
delivers an amazing bunch of songs that draw from more easily accessible influences/genres (60's-pop, folk).
It's also a lot more digestible than the exhausting and sometimes depressing Zen Arcade
. Not only are the songs lyrically lighter (still not all that joyful though), but the sound also differs a lot from the raging double album it followed.
The guitar sounds like a dozen vacuum cleaners, the drums sound thinner than thin, only the bass seems quite ‘unharmed’ by the production ... if a contemporary album were given this production, it would probably be trashed, but somehow it works on New Day Rising
, giving the music the sharp edge it became notorious for, because no matter how instantly memorable many of the melodies are, the frenetic energy this album exudes remains dominant.
The title track immediately sets the tone by offering a frantic drum intro (just like on Everything Falls Apart
and Zen Arcade
, also ‘opened’ by Grant Hart) and layers of droning guitar distortion, creating a hypnotic effect. The song has no actual lyrics, as both Mould and Hart scream new day rising
over and over again. Nevertheless, it remains one of the album’s most intense highlights.
Equally thrilling, but ultimately a much better song, is Hart’s awesome “Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill”, which benefits from Norton’s high bass notes, Mould’s impassioned playing, and Hart’s possessed vocals screaming out up on Heaven Hill is where I wanna be - that girl, that bottle, that mattress, and me
. Chaotic sounding vocals and tempo shifts characterize the ultra-short “Folk Lore” - a rather pessimistic song contemplating lost values and the lessons learned from history.
by Reviewer: Guy Peters
(blogging at Guy's Music Review Site