Experience people can hear
Bob Mould is back. Over 40 years in the business, multiple bands (Husker Du, Sugar) and 13 solo albums later, Mould released his newest album Blue Hearts, on September 25th. Before the album, Mould offered a few appetisers in advance, like the single “Siberian Butterfly.” The song is an excellent preview to the forthcoming album.
Raw and acoustic is how Mould starts off his album. “Heart On My Sleeve” is probably the best title for such a pure song. Anxiety and anger mixed with the acoustic guitar create a very intimate sound. But don’t let the soft sounds lead one on, with “Next Generation,” the sound changes drastically to fast and aggressive sounds. The honesty of Mould’s lyrics is refreshing and needed in times like these.
This leads already into the next song, the previous released “American Crisis.” Songs like these show the magic of punk because it gives the artist absolute freedom. The lyrics are intense, so the listener should be ready to actively listen to the message. “You’re one of us/ Or one of them/ If you’re one of them/ Don’t come near me again” is directly aimed at the torn state the country is in right now. There are just too many truths in this song to go over them, but it is worth thinking about each line.
“Fireball,” the shortest song on the album, explodes at first just to end softly in a choir. “Forecast to Rain” contains more rock elements than punk, but it’s a nice little break from all the fast and aggressive sounds on the album. “When You Left” leads back to full-on punk.; the song invites people to headbang along.
“Siberian Butterfly” is different than the other songs, while being the perfect representation of the album at the same time. It is fast and the track highlights Mould’s distinct voice in a significant way. The track is a highlight on this album. “Everyth!ng to You” continues “Siberian Butterflies” easy rock sounds.
“Racing to the End” has some old school pop-punk influences, which makes the songs sound a little lighter, which can also be said for the next song up, “Baby needs a Cookie.” In this track, the beat alone is upbeat, which could be in contrast to the lyrics. “Little Pieces” continues the album’s honesty and sound, while not being boring.
Honestly, every song is worth listening to. “Leather Dreams,” for example, is a little slower but still incorporates the style of Mould very nicely. “Password to My Soul” features a few hardcore hints with makes the song more aggressive than the previous one. The track proves how masterfully Mould uses and blends multiple styles and genres, and creates his very own sound. Another masterfully executed example is the last song on the album, “The Ocean.” It’s not only the longest song on the record but also completely different from any other song on it. Like the first track, the song ends a little soft and melancholic. The song gives off a very ’90s grunge feeling a la The Smashing Pumpkins. It is a great way to end the album.
Mould’s career is impressive, and he doesn’t really need to prove anything, but yet he does. Blue Hearts is deep and honest while having its very own sound and composition of songs. Mould just shows again that the music scene would be empty without him.