It's Not Funny Anymore - Hüsker Dü, Hart, Grant 
First of the Last Calls
Diane - Hüsker Dü, Hart, Grant 
Out on a Limb
This is the album on which the monster that was Hüsker Dü truly came alive. From here on out, this Minneapolis trio would define new directions and open new vistas for rock music with every release. Bob Mould's spectacular... more »ly demented lead work and furious vocal delivery are driven to a frenzied pace by drummer Grant Hart and bassist Greg Norton. At times, as on the incredible opener, "Real World," the naked aggression and speed is hard to withstand. "It's Not Funny Anymore" is a great anthem, striking a blow against conformity and hinting at the pop territory the band would go on to explore more fully on future outings. "Diane," with Hart on lead vocal, is a ballad of sorts--and probably one of the most horrifying in the history of rock. --Mike Corrigan« less
This is the album on which the monster that was Hüsker Dü truly came alive. From here on out, this Minneapolis trio would define new directions and open new vistas for rock music with every release. Bob Mould's spectacularly demented lead work and furious vocal delivery are driven to a frenzied pace by drummer Grant Hart and bassist Greg Norton. At times, as on the incredible opener, "Real World," the naked aggression and speed is hard to withstand. "It's Not Funny Anymore" is a great anthem, striking a blow against conformity and hinting at the pop territory the band would go on to explore more fully on future outings. "Diane," with Hart on lead vocal, is a ballad of sorts--and probably one of the most horrifying in the history of rock. --Mike Corrigan
No Husker Du Collection is complete without this....!!!!
fetish_2000 | U.K. | 06/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite being one of the few American Post-Punk / American Hardcore bands that had a succession of critically acclaimed albums to their name, as well as being a massive influence on other artists...Hüsker Dü, were never quite lucky enough to turn that considerable talent and ability into mainstream acceptance. And thus, although highly regarded in music circles, only really ever remained something of a cult band, with a devoted fanbase.
This EP, which would take the form of 7 songs, that would predate the release of their subsequent LP "Zen Arcade", which is a collection of visceral, confrontational, hostile & highly literate songs, that although aggressive in vocal delivery, express a level of articulation and intelligence, beneath the abrasive exterior. First track "Real World" is a unrelentingly concise social commentary, encapsulating public anarchy's, insistence on 'self-imposing justice', and is a scathingly hostile look at activism, as a negative form of expression, with the line: "You want to change the world, By breaking rules and laws, People don't do things like that, In the real world at all......You're not a cop, or a politician, You're a person too.....You can sing any song you want, But you're still the same!!!", and the red-raw guitar work here, prove to be as equally confrontational as the lyrics (no mean feat). "Deadly Skies" also takes a similar important look at controversial subject matters, which in this case questions the ultimately pointless task of demonstrating against Nuclear war, and subjectively asking "I like to protest, but I'm not sure what it's for, I guess I've got no control over the threat of nuclear war, I made a sign to carry to show that I really care...I've heard it does some good if the television people are there??", and although most will argue the fact that it's sometimes more important to voice your opinions, than to not have one, it's the lyrical expression and articulate way with words, that hugely impress on both tracks. Both carefully balance pounding, buzzsaw guitar, slashing rhythms, insistent drums, and a uncompromising aggression that confirms their American-punk aesthetic, yet..which, are tempered by an almost journalist's level of an eye for fine detail, with sharp wit, that shatter the argument that loud, aggressive & cathartic music can't compete with the more conventional forms of intelligent singer/songwriter lyrics.
"It's Not Funny Anymore", pairs down the explosive instrumentation somewhat, and although still a relatively quick sounding track, it doesn't feel as reckless or Bleak as the previous tracks, and although sounding distinctly more melodic, is actually a scathing dismissal of their contemporaries, and is unflinching in it's disinterest, in what other bands are attempting, with the lines: "Play what you want to play, Hear what you want to hear, Don't worry about the result.....Or the effect is has on your career", shows a level of biting lyric articulation, that was completely at odds with the simplistic aggressive rhetoric of their peers. And although some may argue that it takes a certain sort of arrogance to create a song such as this, Hüsker Dü really were ahead of most of the pack.
"Diane" as has been probably been mentioned before, is not only the most powerful song on the EP, but arguably one of the most disturbing, emotionally sensitive and affecting songs the band have ever written. Based on the murder of a friend of the band...it tells the chilling tale of a first person perspective from the eyes of a killer, and the mood is one that reflects this disturbing subject matter. Guitars become far more restrained, drums now longer bang furiously, and the whole song takes on a far more ballad-oriented structure, with the chilling lines of: "Hey little girl, do you need a ride??.... Well, I've got room in my wagon why don't you hop inside, We could cruise down Robert Street all night long....But I think I'll just rape you, and kill you instead!!", sending chills down the spine. It's obviously a deeply personal song for the band, and all the more amazing that the band are able to be openly express what is an unforgivable crime. But when they finish the song, with the lyrics: "We could lay in the weeds for a little while, I'll put your clothes in a nice, neat little pile.....You're the cutest girl I've ever seen in my life, It's all over now, and with my knife!!!", I guarantee that, those words will stay with you, long after you've ejected the Cd from the Cd tray.
For those that are new to Hüsker Dü, I would strongly recommend firstly, doing what I did, and starting your collection, with their seminal 3 album run of "Zen Arcade", "Flip your Wig" & "New Day Rising". Only the criminally insane would argue against picking up those albums, and it's extremely likely that it'll fuel a desire to pick up more of their work. And this is where, I believe this EP is perfectly suited. An extension of the fiery songs that made up "Zen Arcade", before gradually shifting into a more melodic transition throughout their albums, and will perfectly compliment the rest of your Hüsker Dü albums. Those that are already fully acquainted with Hüsker Dü's work, should already be making their investigations regarding this tremendous EP. Sublime stuff!!!"
Husker Du's first truly great work
Adam Rickards | Las Vegas, NV United States | 10/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the fact that it's only a seven song EP, Metal Circus by Husker Du is without question one of their finest efforts and is the first entry in the holy quartet of Husker albums (the others being its successors "Zen Arcade," "New Day Rising" and "Flip Your Wig"). Why is it so great? Well, first of all, the songwriting of both Bob Mould and Grant Hart has transcended the boundaries of hardcore punk and moved towards something slightly more melodic, but no less powerful. They actually hide the melodies within the furious guitars and vocals, and it makes for a deeper listen than one might originally think. Secondly, the boys have already transcended the "hardcore" limitations that previously pinned them down, and only a year later would go on to create a sprawling, 2-LP work of art, the wonderfully eclectic "Zen Arcade." This album proves that Husker Du was meant to be a great band. One noticeable characteristic about Metal Circus is that it's Bob Mould who dominates here. Grant Hart is only featured on two songs. Mould blasts of the proceedings with the harsh rockers "Real World" and "Deadly Skies," both of which are as exciting as music gets. As I've said before, the melodies are buried beneath the ragged guitar noise and shouted vocals, but boy, does it work well. Grant Hart shines with the fast-paced pop-rocker "It's Not Funny Anymore." But the real highlight of this collection is the four-and-a-half minute midtempo rocker "Diane." Written and sung by Grant Hart, it relates a true story about a girl who was raped and murdered, and does so in a harrowing fashion (check out Mould's eerie guitar interludes during the bridge). Greg Norton's opening bassline is both spooky and seductive, and it sets the mood for the rest of the song. Husker Du proved here that they were able to tackle deep subject matter in a very realistic way, and proved (at least to me) that they weren't just a flash in the pan; they were actually serious, intuitive musicians.To conclude, I must simply say that I love this album, and I love this band. Husker Du will forever represent to me what true music should be, and I will always admire them for this. They displayed true artistic integrity by transending all musical genres (at the risk of being labelled sellouts) by making expansive, compelling music, and still maintained a defiantly indie-rock approach. Husker Du's greatness was only beginning here."
gastoryrguffa | Kitee, Finland | 05/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The period in 1983-1984 was, on my opinion, the golden era of Husker Du. In 1983 they released this amazing EP and their finest hour, Zen Arcade -album followed a year later. Of course, "Diane" is still the finest song on the album, but tracks like "Real World", "Deadly Skies" and "It's Not Funny Anymore" are easily on the level of the masterpiece that was Zen Arcade. The interesting thing about these song is that although at fisrt they seem like a mixature between noise rock and hardcore, there are some "hidden" melodic hooks in every song."
Patrick Smith | Somerville, MA | 03/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the band's first project for California's SST; a seven-song release in late 1983 that is probably the least-acclaimed and most underrated of all the Hüsker records. This is the one that Nirvana and Pearl Jam only wish they could have made: loud, brash, and haunting, yet completely free of heavy-metal pretension."
Where Du Yu Start...
mickster | 04/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off Diane is such an incredible and sad song...and it is a true crime story-there was a Diane who was raped and killed.
The First of the Last Calls is a pop song wrapped in a wall of sound and will repeat in your head long after the EP is over.
It's Not Funny Anymore really shows Grant Hart in bloom with great licks by Bob Mould.
Real World is classic Mould and political while blasting the fantasy world others resort to....
Deadly Skies just flys off right where Real World leaves off...
Not the strongest but takes off again and is a nice change after First of the Last Calls...
Hard to listen to Out on a Limb after Diane because I so often replay Diane because it is such a great song...this definitely foretells Zen Arcade and has an almost Moroccan influence or other Middle Eastern sound on the guitar...
Overall a strong-fast EP-and a balance of Husker Du. You see Hart emerge as a songwriter but Mould is still in charge on this album. Norton's bass anchors the album-and the opening of Diane is some of his great bass work. Of the 3, Norton is the most underrated. Hart was and is one of the fastest drummers ever-a huge influence on Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Audioslave, etc. Neil Young is often called the Godfather of Grunge-frankly, and I am a huge Neil Young fan, Mould is truly the Godfather...that is not to say Mould isn't hugely influenced by Young-he is-and he used to do a killer cover of Cinnamon Girl in solo concert-but Mould shaped the 90's sound more than anyone else...
Shame Hart has not gotten the credit or made it as big as Mould-but I am a bigger Mould fan...
Anyway-get off your duff and listen to this tiny masterpiece...