Certain Songs #663: Hüsker Dü – “She’s A Woman (And Now He is a Man)”

husker-du-warehouse Album: Warehouse: Songs and Stories
Year: 1987


In the spring and summer of 1987, I was probably as removed knowing what was on the TV as I’ve ever been in my entire life.

Outside of the ritual of taping Late Night With David Letterman — always Dave — I doubt that I watched anything else during that time, which was spent primarily in an apartment in the Tower District with my girlfriend, our roommate, and whichever of our circle of friends happened to come over and hang out.

So I had no idea that Hüsker Dü had been interviewed on The Late Show With Joan Rivers in April of that year. As a matter of fact, I had no idea for at least a couple of decades, when I came across it on YouTube.

During their appearance — where Joan pron, they played two songs, Bob Mould’s super-pop “Could You Be The One?” and Grant Hart’s massive break-up song, “She’s A Woman (And Now He Is a Man),” parenthetical added no doubt so people didn’t assume they were a Beatles cover.

“She’s A Woman (And Now He Is A Man)” is easily Hart’s best song on Warehouse: Songs And Stories (apologies to “She Floated Away” fans), and is structurally different from a lot of his other songs, especially the ones about relationships.

For one thing, he’s not really a participant in the break-up, but rather an observer.

Well, there’s a vacancy between them everyday
And a sense of guilt that’s not going away
And when they get older perhaps they’ll understand, uh-ho-ho
She’s a woman and now he is a man

For another thing, there’s an actual bridge, which ramps up the energy halfway through, and also makes you question whether or not Hart is using the third person to disguise the fact that he is, indeed, writing about himself after all.

And now he’s into something
That her heart cannot forgive
She’s saying to herself
“This is not the way to live”
Well, he’ll never listen to her
’cause his mind is like a sieve
Oh brother, oh brother, I’m telling your sister
No way can I resist her

With Bob Mould’s guitar firing like a laser beam, Greg Norton’s bass providing mega-hooks, and Hart’s long, arcing melody line, “She’s A Woman (And Now He Is A Man)” is alternately melancholic and uplifting, and one of my very favorite of Hart’s songs.

“She’s A Woman (And Now He Is A Man)”

“She’s A Woman (And Now He Is A Man)” performed live on Late Show With Joan Rivers, 1987

Hüsker Dü on The Late Show With Joan Rivers

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