Thursday, February 23, 2012

An excerpt from "See a Little Light," Bob Mould

New Day Rising was a very different album from Zen Arcade. They were composed only a matter of months apart but when I look back, it seems like years. Before New Day Rising, it was words floating around in notebooks, and me sweeping them up and gathering them all together in my hands like they were snowballs or fastballs, spitting on them, and throwing these words at the listener. The songs were outbursts of confusion, dealing almost exclusively with problems, and rarely offered answers. But the new songs, and their imagery, were different -- they addressed time, the transitory nature of emotions, and the passing of seasons.

"Celebrated Summer" was my first truly effective use of melancholy, a sentiment that was to become an element of my future songwriting. "I Apologize" chronicles a suspicion-filled and explosive relationship, describing how something as seemingly minor as forgetting to take out the trash can highlight how easily a relationaship can go silent. I still play those two songs in most every show.

And if Zen Arcade was the "gram of crystal meth in the first pot of coffee album," then New Day Rising was my drinking album. That's surely why the sessions don't stand out big for me. I'd been drinking heavily for a while, and you don't have to listen too hard to hear my inebriated state. "Perfect Example" was the sound of me sitting alone in front of an open microphone, a wee bit too drunk, muttering through a series of doubts, fears, and regrets. The words tumbled in free verse, and I don't think I listened to it after it was done. Then there's the mindless hardcore blast of "Whatcha Drinkin'": "I don't care what they say / I'll be drinkin' today." ...

We all make our own beds, and when the alarm goes off that's when it's time to wake up.

(from See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, the new autobiography by Bob Mould, published by Little, Brown. Mould is an American musician, singer / songwriter, producer, and DJ. An original member of the influential 1980s punk band Hüsker Dü, he released several albums after the band separated, including Workbook, Copper Blue, Body of Song, and Life and Times.

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