Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bob Mould's blistering new solo album

Bob Mould's new album Silver Age is almost surely going to make my top ten. It's the kind of record that benefits from the insight and perspective of age, without making any concessions to it. It rocks, it rages and it has really powerful melodies...everything you'd want from Mould. Here's my review for Dusted:

Bob Mould
Silver Age

Bob Mould has been looking back for the last couple of years, first in the process of writing his biography, later as a result of some full-album recreation shows where he plays 1992’s Copper Blue from end to end. It’s the kind of introspection that he mostly skipped during his 1980s Hüsker Dü heyday, and it’s evidently good for him. When I saw Bob Mould a couple of years ago playing a low-key, non-record-promoting kind of show with Chris Brokaw, he was unexpectedly genial, expansive and glad to be there. He played unaccompanied, ranging mostly through his solo material, but also dipping back into Sugar and even Hüsker songs. And in between, he told stories and made jokes about his gayness, a topic that he never touched as a Hüsker and which was an open secret until a 1994 Spin interview with Dennis Cooper outed him. He had, at the time of the show, just finished his book and seemed to have come to terms with his past, his sexuality and his music.

During the course of the evening, he played “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” most likely one of the cuts that Silver Age’s title track is referring to in the line, “I didn’t want to play the songs that gave people so much hope.” However, he played it in an altered, non-jangle pop way that was hardly recognizable. Hey, it’s my song, he seemed to be saying, “I’ll play it the way I want to.” And perhaps even, “You’re lucky that I’m playing it at all.”

Silver Age, Mould’s ninth solo album and the first since 2009’s Life and Times, continues this exploration of the past, embracing the blistering tunefulness that has characterized Mould’s work since Hüsker Dü’s Everything Falls Apart and waxing borderline nostalgic about youth and rage and success and pain. There’s an elegiac mood to Silver Age, though couched in a firestorm of tightly wound guitar aggression.


You can stream the whole album at Stereogum.

Here's a recap of that show I mentioned.

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