12 September 2008

Something 4 The Weekend # 84

Husker Du: Zen Arcade: "What's Going On" [mp3]

Ahhh, Zen Arcade...Back in the freshman dorms at UW, the opening drumroll of the opening song on this album ("Something I Learned Today") was enough to send my roommate, Saint Jim, running from our dormroom in fear and loathing...He hated Husker Du, and as much as I loved 'em, I positively adored them because they helped me get our room to myself pretty much whenever I wanted...That's something I learned within the first week or two of school that year, and the knowledge served me well...It's not that I hated Saint Jim, I actually loved the guy and we got along pretty damn well, but when yr living on a dorm floor with 63 other people, and going to freshman lectures with 600 students in those intro classes, and working in a school cafeteria with 100 others at any given time, and drinking in overcrowded bars on State Street, one will do what one can to get some peace and quiet...

Of course, there will be balance in the universe, and Saint Jim only had to slip Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends album on the turntable to get me running from the room with a scream, so it all worked out in the end...

Anyways, I always loved this song, "What's Going On" more than any other tune on Zen Arcade because it marked the turning point in the story Husker Du was telling on this concept album about a teenaged boy who runs away from his fucked up home only to realize that the real world outside his home is even more fucked up...Harsh lessons for the protagonist, and fertile fodder for an 18 year old like myself, moving away from home for the first time, nevermind that my parents were pretty fucking cool, and I never had any complaints or misgivings about my childhood. Like the protagonist, I did learn quickly that the world can oftentimes be an extremely cruel place, littered with damaged and damaging people...Cynicism's gotta start somewhere, right?

The song itself is brilliant in my mind because the sloppiness of the playing itself (trust me, these guys are hella better musicians than this song reflects) ably represents the protagonist's mental breakdown, and the doubts and cynicism that have begun flooding his mind...The kid's having a fucking breakdown, and dammit if the song isn't falling apart as well...Stuttering drums, piano vamps cluttering the space, gang vocals that aren't very "tight", shambolic guitar soloing, a false ending...It's all here, and it's all great stuff, from a great band, on one of the very finest rock'n'roll albums ever made...A Punk masterpiece that totally redefined what hardcore could be...Between this and Minutemen's Double Nickels On The Dime, Punk would never quite be the same again...A MUST!

Hotcha! Hank

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Hank...

We must be on the same wavelength with Husker Du pop sensibilities.

Check out Norton's in Red Wing.

Perhaps the water flowin' over Mill Pond is the culprit.

Who can turn the world on with a smile? Que Sarah...Sarah...

Palin in comparison...

Outta here

September 13, 2008 6:11 PM  

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