Meaning “Do You Remember?” in Norwegian, Husker Du has an immediate impression on all who listen to them. Band members Bob Mould, Grant Hart and Greg Norton always manage to get the most sound of their respective instruments. A few years ago, when The White Stripes released “Seven Nation Army” as a single from their album Elephant, I thought to myself, “This is pretty good but Husker Du could have done it better.” I mean, any band that can make “Love Is All Around” (aka The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme) sound bad ass and catchy at the same time has to be pretty good.
Mould and Hart share the songwriting and as you look down any one of their albums, it pretty much goes that you get a Mould song followed by something Hart then back to Mould, etc. I happen (like most) to prefer Mould because his lyrics are that much more intense and I prefer his vocals.
Just like Bob Dylan and Prince, the band is from Minnesota and in 1980, they got a big break by having fans like the members of Black Flag and the great Jello Biafra, formerly of the Dead Kennedys. But the oddest endorsement I’ve ever seen for the band has to come from VH1, who once referred to Husker Du, along with REM, as “the two American post-punk bands of the ‘80s that changed the direction of rock ‘n’ roll.” With all due respect to VH1, I can’t imagine too many of their viewers (or employees, for that matter) listening to “Hate Paper Doll” or “Terms of Psychic Warfare.”
It’s a shame that they haven’t received a bigger following, but I suppose Mould, Hart and Norton are happy with their unofficial title as one of the great semi-underground punk bands. If you’re ever feeling unhappy, listen to any of the albums below and you’ll instantly feel that much better. And possibly want to start an awesome band yourself.
Five Best…Husker Du Albums
#5. Candy Apple Grey
Best Track: “Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely”
#4. New Day Rising
Best Track: “The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill"
#3. Flip Your Wig
Best Track: “Makes No Sense At All”
#2. Zen Arcade
Best Track: “Masochism World” or “Never Talking To You Again”
#1. Warehouse Songs and Stories
Best Track: “These Important Years”