Album: Poison Years
I’ll admit it: I’ve always had more respect than love for Bob Mould’s Workbook album. In theory, I wasn’t against his turning the volume down and doing a more acoustic record: after all, ongs like “Hardly Getting Over It” and “Too Far Down” were highlights of Candy Apple Grey, so it was clear that he could pull it off, and many many folks think that he did. But not me.
Which isn’t to say that Workbook isn’t a very good record, it’s just that give the amazing run that Hüsker Dü went on during the mid-80s, “very good” just wasn’t good enough. And I guarantee that at least one person – maybe every person – who reads these words will violently disagree with me. And you know what? You’re probably right.
It’s just that the Bob Mould that I love, that had a lifetime pass by the time either of us turned 25, is the guy who writes the great pop songs with the amazingly loud, sustainy guitar. That exquisite combination of melody and noise that changed everything. And that’s why this b-side was so important.
While it’s impossible to know if “All Those People Know” would have been a highlight on whatever the next album by the Hüskers would have been (and of course, it still wasn’t as great as “2541,”), to me it was like Bob saying to his fans “look gang, Workbook was just something that I needed to do, but I can still – and will – play to my strengths and kick out these great punk rock tunes on a dime.”
Which is why, in subsequent years, whenever he did anything that went away from his core strengths, I just enjoyed the bits that I enjoyed – even his “electronic” record has some great songs – and waited for him to circle back to what he did best. Kinda like Neil Young.
“All Those People Know”
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