Tag Archive | "Grant Hart"

Grant Hart – Top 10

Tags: ,

Grant Hart – Top 10

Posted on 17 September 2017 by Dorian

I’m not a huge fan of eulogising the dead, I think that praise and recognition is something that is much more powerful when someone is still alive. However, I do understand the sadness, and need for catharsis, that people feel when someone important to them passes away. In the case of someone like David Bowie it is in part due to the huge impact their music has had over the decades. In the case of someone like Grant Hart, who died of cancer aged only 56 this week, it is in part due to the lack of perceived impact they had on the musical landscape.

Grant Hart has never been afforded the same level of respect as his Hüsker Du band mate Bob Mould. He didn’t write and sing quite as many songs with that band as Mould did, but many of his contributions stand amongst the bands best. His solo work gets far less attention and even though he formed a new band (Nova Mob) some three years before Mould formed Sugar you won’t see anniversary editions of either of their albums in your record shop.

Here is a selection of ten of my favourite tracks from across his career, a hard job to whittle down to such a short list. I’ve split the songs (presented in chronological order) 50/50 between Hüsker Du and solo work. I urge you to seek out the albums that these songs are taken from. The non-Hüsker Du work is well represented on Spotify although harder to buy in physical form.

Diane

This song, from Metal Circus, is about a real life murder and is perhaps better known as a single that the band Therapy? released 15 years later.

Pink Turns To Blue

Zen Arcade is my favourite album by the band, and an extremely influential record demonstrating much more scope and invention than a hardcore punk band was supposed to display. I’ve decided to only pick one song from any album for this list and it was tough to exclude ‘Never Talking To You Again’, but this is possibly my favourite from the album. Also one of the few songs where I could find really good quality live footage.

Terms Of Psychic Warfare

New Day Rising was always going to suffer following Zen Arcade but it is still a great album. This excellent footage gives you two bonus tracks; ‘Powerline’ and ‘Books About UFOs’.

Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely

It says something about Hart’s growing stature in the band that both singles taken from their first major label release, Candy Apple Gray, are his compositions. This is one of them.

Back From Somewhere

Bob Mould famously told Grant Hart that he would never have as many songs on a Hüsker Du album as him. On their final release, Warehouse Songs And Stories, Hart had nine of the twenty tracks.

The Main

Intolerance is a really fascinating album, with Hart handling all musical and production duties on the record. ‘2541’ almost made this list, but this piano driven song about drug addiction is one of his most powerful recordings.

Admiral Of The Sea

I picked up the 12″ single of this track shortly after it was released. I remember spinning it over and over when I got home.

You Don’t Have To Tell Me Now

This song, from Good News For Modern Man, is another example of hart’s gift for introspective love songs. This version is a live audio recording from what may have been his last live tour.

You’re The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water

In which Grant Hart goes all ‘White Light/White Heat’ for his 2009 album Hot Wax.

For Those Too High Aspiring

His final release, 2013’s The Argument, isn’t the easiest of listens. It is a sprawling concept album based on John Milton’s Paradise Lost and needs a few listens to get into. It is worth the effort though, like Zen Arcade it proves that the best work is ambitious and cerebral and takes a bit of effort to understand. This is the last song from his final album, and seems an appropriate way to end this list.

By Dorian Rogers

Share

Comments (1)

Tags: ,

Grant Hart – Hot Wax

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Joe

What a band Husker Du was to be blessed with two fantastic songwriters and performers in Bob Mould and Grant Hart. While Mould often got the plaudits Hart undoubtedly churned out some of  Husker Du’s finest tracks, in particular ‘Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely’ on Candy Apple Grey.

Since the band split in the 1980s Mould and Hart followed similar paths for a while with new bands. Mould forming power pop outfit Sugar and Hart starting Nova Mob.

However, over the last decade their careers have taken different turns. Both are now solo artists, but while Mould has been pretty prolific, releasing five solo albums since 2002 (including this year’s excellent Life and Times, Hart has been less busy, taking ten years to follow up his 1999 solo release Good News For Modern Man with Hot Wax.

Hot Wax has been in the pipeline for a while and features input from among others Godspeed You Black Emperor and Silver Mt. Zion. The press blurb on his website says that, “Grant Hart’s first solo album of the 21st century is one of the best things he has ever done,” as it creates a modern take on classic rock and roll.

That is not strictly true. Hot Wax is not a bad album but nowhere near even matching his best moments with either Husker Du or Nova Mob. The album certainly has its high points, a couple of great songs and a nice Sixties feel to it, but overall it sounds too pedestrian in places and ironically rushed, given it has been years in the making. There are simply too many fillers, even for an album of nine songs.

Among the best tracks are the jingly-jangly ‘California Zephyr’, the David Bowie-esque ‘Schoolbuses are for Children’ and the organ drenched ‘Sailor Jack’. But too many of the rest are like opener ‘You Are the Reflection of the Moon on the Water’, just ok, without much melody as they plod along.

If Hot Wax was released by an unknown, new artist we wouldn’t be so harsh. But this is Grant Hart we are talking about here – a punk legend. And what’s more a punk legend who has taken ten years to get this album out. While comparisons with Mould must be annoying for Hart the inescapable fact is that Mould’s Life and Times is far better, has catchier hooks, better production and somehow feels more genuine.

6/10

by Joe Lepper, Oct 2009

Share

Comments (0)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

Charts