Hüsker Dü | Zen Arcade | Vinyl 2LP

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Double LP version with gatefold sleeve, 23 tracks.

In many ways, it's impossible to overestimate the impact of Hôsker Dô's Zen Arcade on the American rock underground in the '80s. It's the record that exploded the limits of hardcore and what it could achieve. Hôsker Dô broke all of the rules with Zen Arcade. First and foremost, it's a sprawling concept album, even if the concept isn't immediately clear or comprehensible. More important are the individual songs.

Both Bob Mould and Grant Hart abandoned the strict "fast, hard, loud" rules of hardcore punk with their songs for Zen Arcade. Without turning down the volume, Hôsker Dô try everything -- pop songs, tape experiments, acoustic songs, pianos, noisy psychedelia. Hôsker Dô willed themselves to make such a sprawling record -- as the liner notes state, the album was recorded and mixed within 85 hours and consists almost entirely of first takes. That reckless, ridiculously single-minded approach does result in some weak moments -- the sound is thin and the instrumentals drag on a bit too long -- but it's also the key to the success of Zen Arcade. Hôsker Dô sound phenomenally strong and possessed, as if they could do anything.

The sonic experimentation is bolstered by Mould and Hart's increased sense of songcraft. Neither writer is afraid to let his pop influences show on Zen Arcade, which gives the songs -- from the unrestrained rage of "Something I Learned Today" and the bitter, acoustic "Never Talking to You Again" to the eerie "Pink Turns to Blue" and anthemic "Turn On the News" -- their weight. It's music that is informed by hardcore punk and indie rock ideals without being limited by them.


LP Track Listing:

1. Something I Learned Today

2. Broken Home, Broken Heart

3. Never Talking To You Again

4. Chartered Trips

5. Dreams Reoccurring

6. Indecision Time

7. Hare Krsna

8. Beyond The Threshold

9. Pride

10. I'll Never Forget You

11. The Biggest Lie

12. What's Going On

13. Masochism World

14. Standing By The Sea

15. Somewhere

16. One Step At A Time

17. Pink Turns To Blue

18. Newest Industry

19. Monday Will Never Be The Same

20. Whatever

21. The Tooth Fairy And The Princess

22. Turn On The News

23. Reoccurring Dreams