"All those things I've done before," Bob Mould sings, dismissing Hüsker Dü, the band he toiled with for most of the '80s, "it doesn't matter anymore." That's partially true--Hüsker were always much more brutal than "See a ... more »Little Light," the wistful, catchy pop song on Mould's 1989 solo debut. But even Mould's most introspective previous songs didn't have quite the scab-opening quality of "Lonely Afternoon" and "Wishing Well." Though Mould's guitar and Anton Fier's drums made Workbook seem heavy at the time, today it doesn't have quite the punch of Hüsker Dü or his beefed-up trio recordings with Sugar. --Steve Knopper« less
"All those things I've done before," Bob Mould sings, dismissing Hüsker Dü, the band he toiled with for most of the '80s, "it doesn't matter anymore." That's partially true--Hüsker were always much more brutal than "See a Little Light," the wistful, catchy pop song on Mould's 1989 solo debut. But even Mould's most introspective previous songs didn't have quite the scab-opening quality of "Lonely Afternoon" and "Wishing Well." Though Mould's guitar and Anton Fier's drums made Workbook seem heavy at the time, today it doesn't have quite the punch of Hüsker Dü or his beefed-up trio recordings with Sugar. --Steve Knopper
"And if that sounds boring, I'm sorry. This record is anything but. I can understand how the lack of fuzz guitar could seem strange after so many years of great Husker Du punk/rock product. It bothered me, too, back in the day when I bought this on cassette.However, I learned quickly that his clean electric guitar sound brought his "folk" rock tendencies to the fore, highlighting the best vocals of his career and spotlighting some of his best playing (Sunspots, the instrumental that opens the record).Moving right along, this album boasts at least one masterpiece of pop, "See A Little Light." Ringing guitars and a catchy course can make even the most cynical Mould fan smile and wonder if he's been listening to Marshall Crenshaw.Of course, Mould is from Husker Du at this point, so we need our angst factor: "Wishing Well" and "Compositions for the Young and Old" fulfill this nicely. Both are folk/rockers with great lyrics smothered in a wall of sound concocted by Mould. Strangely enough, the approach works. By straining a little to hear his words, we feel closer to the artist. Kudos to Mould in his producer hat, overseeing the mix.With contributions from Anton Fier (drums, Golden Palominos), Tony Maimone (bass, Pere Ubu), and Jane Scarpatoni (cello, Tiny Lights), this is an alternative album a folkie can love, a folk album a punk can dig, and just an -expletive deleted- great record. I can't reccommend it more highly. Seriously. Buy the damn thing and give the man a retirement plan. I mean this."
Christopher R. Cicatelli | bethesda, md | 09/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i have been a fan of Sugar for quite a while, and always enjoyed classic Husker Du, but was rather late in terms of discovering Bob Mould's solo efforts. regardless, since i got this CD about two years ago, not a week goes by without listening to it. it is simply an amazing effort put forth by Mould, and to think that it came out in 1989/1990 blows me away. how many years i missed listening to this gem of a release!!! every track is fantastic...the melodies are superb, the lyrics are thought provoking, and Mould's vocals sound better than ever. there is not one weak track....the guitars are angry, the melodies are catchy, the words will leave impressions in your mind long after you're done listening.... yo Bob, thanks for a collection of music that i will never tire of and for a collection of music that has gotten me through some tough times."
The Perfect Soundtrack to a "Lonely Afternoon"
Jonathan Carosn | Virginia, USA | 01/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This phenomenal rocker came out when I was just starting college and no recording has ever quite managed to hit me in quite the same way, before or since. Aside from being a guitar god--perhaps _the_ best composite player (solo/rhythm/texture) around--, Mould is also the master of a lyrical and vocal performance that manages to slam you over the head with a hammer. This bombast is entirely forgivable, given that I happen to adore it and can connect with just about everything he says. It's difficult to say which moment on this gem shines the brightest, and defining it would be tantamount to picking a favorite son or daughter. Nevertheless, "Brasilia crossed with Trenton, Wishing Well, and Lonely Afternoon" all never cease to put goose bumps on the back of my neck. And yet, Bob's on-stage persona is utterly pretension free and I'm tempted to ask him and his band if they want to stick around for a round of beers at the local bowling alley. Aw shucks. Thanks Bob for being there for me in your music, of which _Workbook_ is your crowning achivement."
I saw Bob Last Night........
Chunderman | UK | 01/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Workbook is an awesome mainly accoustic album.
I've now seen him in Husker Du, Sugar and last night solo. Just him and an electric guitar. He is one of the Greatest songwriters of our time. 'New Day Rising' has and probably always will be my favourite album ever."