The first four seconds of this influential Minneapolis trio's fifth album pretty much set the table: drum shots like an anxious heartbeat, then a sudden wall of fuzzy, high-treble electric-guitar noise. The choruses are oc... more »casionally catchy, especially on "The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill," but this is more like the intense Zen Arcade than more melodic later albums. (A rare pace change, the girl-obsessed "Books About UFOs" actually recalls Bruce Springsteen.) Bassist Greg Norton, who rarely gets mentioned in Hüsker reviews, sews together Bob Mould's power guitar, Grant Hart's head-banging beats, and general ensemble screaming. --Steve Knopper« less
The first four seconds of this influential Minneapolis trio's fifth album pretty much set the table: drum shots like an anxious heartbeat, then a sudden wall of fuzzy, high-treble electric-guitar noise. The choruses are occasionally catchy, especially on "The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill," but this is more like the intense Zen Arcade than more melodic later albums. (A rare pace change, the girl-obsessed "Books About UFOs" actually recalls Bruce Springsteen.) Bassist Greg Norton, who rarely gets mentioned in Hüsker reviews, sews together Bob Mould's power guitar, Grant Hart's head-banging beats, and general ensemble screaming. --Steve Knopper
"This album is vicious, relentless and incredibly catchy. It moves away from the artier Zen Arcade (recorded a mere 5 months earlier!) by turning that album's experiments and sprawling concept into individual super charged songs. The production is better than ZA - obviously not all first take, but the drums get the crash they deserve and the guitar is a wave-of-noise treble attack.Also, this album's songwriting moves away from hardcore screamfests into songs more influenced by 60's pop melodicism delivered with the same rage and power as their hardcore material. This only serves to strengthen the songs Hart and Mould turn in. The songs are brutal and fast, the choruses (improved by the gorgeous voices of both Mould and Hart) are almost always catchy and memorable.The title track kicks off the record with a moment of drum power and then a wall of sheer guitar rage backed by 3 Bob Moulds and 2 Grant Harts screaming "New Day Rising" at each other over and over. Hart's "The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill" even manages to top that astonishing moment with a crushing, melodic chorus and quirky, memorable lyrics ("she's got a big room and it's always a mess / her worn-out shoes and a worn-out dress") about a boy obsessed with a lonely sweet-hearted girl. Following that, Mould turns in the amazing "Celebrated Summer," which is the best song on the record, and in many ways its centerpiece. Structurally complex, with changes indebted to folk (it even has an acoustic bridge), this song about lost innocence still requires maximum volume because of the screamed, beautiful vocals and the overwhelming guitar. Opening side 2, Hart gives out an incredibly catchy song called "Terms of Psychic Warfare," characterized again by excellent lyrics about a breakup and a poppy chorus (tambourine, falsetto and all). Later in the side, Hart returns with "Books About UFOs," another girl-crazy tune with an Honest-to-God piano part (! ) and a shuffling tempo, where Hart sings "I'm gonna turn into a lens and focus all my attention / On finding a new planet and naming it right after her!" But the album's closer is one of the most overwhelming tracks on the record: "Plans I Make" begins with a brutal guitar/drum riff and takes off from there, reaching the point of sonic meltdown, with Mould working the band and himself into a frenzy, shrieking and bellowing over guitar driving nails into the listener, "GO... GO... GO MAKE PLANS... GO MAKE PLANS." The band eventually crashes to a halt and a single note of agonizing feedback envelops Mould as he groans "make.... plans.... make..... plans...." over and over until he too chokes to a stop.This record amazes me. It's the Huskers' most sustained moment of pure musical power -- it placed #8 in NME's 100 Best Records, '85-'95, and well deserved it. While their later material lost some of the sheer ferocity of this record, and much of their earlier material is underproduced and unstructred, this record truly is the best of both worls. It will blow you away -- literally."
"It captivates, and it hypnotize, hear the power in the line
mwreview | Northern California, USA | 04/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I know a lot of Husker Du fans love Zen Arcade, but I think New Day Rising was their first great album and the three albums they released after it were stellar. They still had that hard, raw, post-punk sound of their roots but were starting to move into a more accessible sound. I can see people who may not like Metal Circus or Land Speed Record really get into this album and I can also see fans of Husker's later, mainstream sound appreciate the rough edge of this first of their two 1985 releases (the other being Flip Your Wig). They walk that power line (so to speak) perfectly (a perfect example, right?). Whereas, Grant Hart put out his best material on the later albums, Bob Mould's tracks really stand out here (Hart has some excellent stuff here, too). There are some fillers included at the end, but there are also more than an album's worth of 12 excellent tracks, so five stars it gets!
"New Day Rising" (Mould) 2:31: Classic title track. For one line being screamed over and over, this song really rocks! "The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill" (Hart) 3:03: Another strong rocker that just blows you away with Hart screaming at the top of his lungs. The almost menacing guitar riff really drives this track. "I Apologize" (Mould) 3:40: Things settle down a bit with this straight-forward rocker with the singy-songy chorus. Musically, it's not as powerful, but Mould's vocals keep the intensity up: "It's your turn can you look me in the eye? Apologiiiize... HOW `BOUT IT!" "Folklore" (Mould) 1:34: Noisy, punk style of early Husker Du. It has interesting lyrics, if you can understand them: "Women sewed the stars and stripes and the men, they fought the wars. The children learned arithmetic and everyone was poor...Now the women scream for equal rights their man wants to have an affair. Children learn to hate the world and no one seems to care." "If I Told You" (Hart) 2:05: Awesome track! This just rocks with great vocals and drum work by Hart, especially at the bridge where he's screaming at the top of his lungs while just flying on the drum kit. "Celebrated Summer" (Mould) 3:59: Bob Mould classic! Slow at the beginning and then rocks out! The guitar is incredible here from start to finish! "Perfect Example" (Mould) 3:16: This may be my favorite track on the album. It is a slow song with quiet, muffled vocals by Mould. I really like it for the guitar sound.
"Terms of Psychic Warfare" (Hart) 2:17: Greg Norton kicks in with the bass line and this song just flies. Great vocals by Hart with just enough masked anger to drive the song: "And don't feel bad next time my memory comes creepin'. You've got your own bed now I suggest that's the one you sleep in." "59 Times the Pain" (Mould) 3:18: Awesome, powerful track! Torturous vocals by Mould. For years I thought the line "Look at the photos from different eras gone by" sounded like "Coca Cola the drink that really satisfies." Mould's line is probably better. "Powerline" (Mould) 2:22: Heavy sounding track with great vocals and guitar. "Books About UFOs" (Hart) 2:46: Who couldn't like this song? Fun lyrics with piano pounding away. "I'm going to turn into a lens and focus all my attention on finding a new planet and naming it right after her" Ahhhhh. Much different than "Diane." "I Don't Know What You're Talking About" (Mould) 2:20: Speedy hard rocker that I wish ended the album. "How To Skin a Cat" 1:52: Now we get to the fillers. Why? The album was perfect up the this point. Mould rips away on the guitar and talks about fattening the cats on rats and getting cat skins and feeding their skinned carcasses back to the rats...I guess if you hate cats you'll find humor here, I find it annoying. "Watcha Drinkin'?" (Mould) 1:30: This is actually a legitimate punk hard rocker with a cool bass riff in the middle, but seems weak compared to all the masterpieces here. "Plans I Make" (Mould) 4:16: Loud, noisy, screaming punk with barely understandable lyrics. The guitar does rock out, though. 4:00 of it is a bit much."
Best guitar album of the 80's
Jason R. Conger | Tampa, FL USA | 01/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The list for the best albums of the 80's is a short one. Most music fans and critics will tell you the list consists of The Clash's Londing Calling, U2's The Joshua Tree, Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, or Prince's Sign O' the Times. The album that should be included in this mix is Husker Du's New Day Rising. Why? It combines everything that makes rock music great: emotion, intensity, and hooks galore. New Day Rising is one of rock's few perfect albums. After Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, it is probably the most passionate and skilled guitar album ever made. The sonic barrage that Bob Mould achieves on this album is unparallel. The lyrics take second place to the music, due to the production, but isn't the music more important anyway? Bob Mould and Grant Hart scream to get their point across, but no matter-the buzz production on New Day Rising is exactly what it needs. Mould and Hart had their problems in the recording studio, but you can never tell on this album; it is a masterpiece of dynamic chemistry. All the songs are fantastic, but three stand out in particular: "I Apologize", "Celebrated Summer", and "59 Times the Pain". These songs are where the band has never had more fun, reaching peak after dizzying peak, achieving a whirling dervish that few bands can conjure up, and they just love taking you along for the ride. And on "Plans I Make", Mould screams in anger like he never has before or since. Why? Because plans take away the fun out of life. The band knows it and they want to make you know it too. At the end of the song, Mould is trying to catch his breath, which is exactly what you will be doing when you finish this hypnotic classic. A+"
Clear Cut Genius of an album
pol rujoer | Heaven Hill | 06/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the the title track that blows your mind with it's edgy distortion ten years ahead of it's time (1985). Just when you recover from the insanely melodic screaming by Bob Mould and Grant Hart they smack you in the face with "Girl who lives on Heaven Hill" wit it's screaming singer Grant Hart hardly able to contain himself as Bob Mould's alternative wall-of-sound guitar consumes the band in pure bliss. The next track "I Apologize" is so damn catchy that if you don't have your toes tapping or some part of your body moving your either paralyzed or insane, probably both. The next song Folklore has its moments with thoughtful lyrics and quality guitar playing. What really saves the next song "If I told you" from being lost in this great album is it's amazing chord sequence which makes for a great listen. The next track "Celebrated Summer" is such a great song that I shouldn't have to mention it's godlike guitar hooks that jerk you until you cry. In the next song, "Perfect example" the lyrics are hard to decipher yet none the less guitarist Bob Mould catches you with great guitar work and mundane yet beautiful lyrics. Then on "terms of Psychic warfare" the song is actually bettered by Mould's bellowing background wails that keep Grant Hart's lyrics from losing their potency. The next song is a killer piece of music "59 times the pain" brings the listener to their knees with its beautifully placed distortion amidst clanging power riffs and cutting lyrics. Even my 15-year-old sister thought this was a good song and she won't listen to anything unless it is teenybopper sanctioned. Powerline really gets to you on a second listen with its mind numbing guitar fricking genius. Then Grant Hart's lovely pop-alt jam "books about UFO's" marrying alternative rocking riffs with a surprisingly well-placed ragtime piano sound. Then a song which I was not expecting to like crept up on me and had screaming along to it. "I don't know what you're talking about" is a pure scream along sound with its unrelenting riff and it's catchy as hell lyrics. The next song "How to skin a cat" is a funny joke that should offend some listeners. Then "Whatcha Drinking" hits with its hardcore punk song but sing along lyrics. Then the final song "Plans I make" present a sonic melt down of guitars that would be more expected in future years say 8 years later. With that one of the greatest and most underrated rock records is completed the fact that Husker Du remains so underrated and un heard of (only 5 people in my entire high school know about them) makes me sad and proud at the same time to grasp on to this highly creative music which now has more staying power with me then some of the other great bands I listen to like the Pixies, Nirvana, and bands like Fugazi and such. Truly an engaging listening experience above all others. Buy this album or live with the pain of your decision not to, your choice."
The best balance of hardcore energy and pop melodies.
Shotgun Method | NY... No, not *that* NY | 09/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although the double LP Zen Arcade is frequently hailed as being the best Husker Du release (and make no mistake, it is a classic) I'd put my money on this one. New Day Rising is more concise, focused, and enjoyable than Zen Arcade, and also represents an important point in the band's evolution from their early hardcore sound to their later more melodic efforts.
The title track kicks it off with a wall of trebly guitars (made even fuzzier by the lousy production values), a pummeling drumbeat, and loud screaming by Bob Mould and Grant Hart. Typical hardcore, right? Well the next track, the Hart-penned Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill, is a change of pace. The wall of guitars is still there, but the chorus is catchy and the song is (surprise!) quite melodic. The centerpiece of the album is the gorgeous Celebrated Summer, with an acoustic middle section and sublime, coming of age lyrics. The poppiest song is the quirky Books About UFOs, which even features a piano (!) and points the way to their future material.
And the hardcore punkers will be satisfied with the hard-hitting Whatcha Drinkin', 59 Times The Pain, and the sonic eruption of The Plans I Make. Excepting the goofy and noisy joke How To Skin A Cat, New Day Rising is the finest Husker record (despite the lo-fi recording quality) and an ideal purchase for anyone who enjoys punk, indie, or alternative. Recommended."