Graded on a Curve:
Hüsker Dü ,
Land Speed Record

I’ve set myself a 27-minute time limit on writing a review of this 17-track amphetamine blur of an LP–recorded live on a 4-track soundboard tape at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 15, 1981 for $300 bucks–seeing as how that’s the album’s run time and people of conscience (Black Lives Matter!) have more important things to do than read record reviews.

On the appropriately titled Land Speed Record you can hardly make out where one song ends and the other begins, the lyrics are unintelligible, and good luck finding a melody. The Hüsker Dü that recorded Land Speed Record had a long way to go in the songwriting department, but they would carry one thing into the future, namely Bob Mould’s rage. Even if you need a lyric sheet to figure out exactly what he’s so enraged about.

Land Speed Record has a savage and nihilist bent that Mould himself would soon lambast in the anthemic “Your Anarchy I Bullshit” anthem “Real World.” “Don’t Have a Life” and “Let’s Go Die” are characteristic hardcore tropes, but then again neither were Mould/Hart creations. They were written instead by bass player Greg “King of the Handlebar Mustache” Norton, whose songwriting credits soon fell to nil, perhaps because the other guys feared “Let’s Go Die” might become the hardcore equivalent of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

When I first heard Land Speed Record in the early ’80s I found it unlistenable. But over the years I’ve developed a real affection for it. The LP has a happy go-lucky feel to it that Hüsker Dü wouldn’t return to until 1985’s New Day Rising, on which Grant Hart opened his psychedelic heart and started to sing happy songs about girls and books and UFOs. Bob Mould will likely always be a sourpuss with anger issues, but on Land Speed Record he almost sounds like he’s having fun.

GRADED ON A CURVE:
B+

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text