Husker Du - ‘Dead Set On Destruction’ from Candy Apple Grey (1986)
Poptimism/punktimism [delete as appropriate] means to me: preferring Husker Du’s Warner Brothers albums Candy Apple Grey and Warehouse: Songs and Stories to New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig (Metal Circus and Zen Arcade are still gold, though). Their last two records are the best examples of Husker Du’s ‘pop’ sound, and the earlier two of the punk/post-hardcore sound. The middle two seem, well, transitional, and I’ve never really gotten into them. I don’t begrudge anyone else who has, of course.
This is interesting (if not surprising), though:
“Hüsker Dü was not expected to sell a large amount of records. Rather, Warner Bros. valued the group for its grassroots fanbase and its “hip” status, and by keeping the overhead low the label anticipated the band would turn a profit.”
I should probably read Michael Azerrad’s book (from which the above is sourced) sometime, but as a non-musician and frankly someone who isn’t active in any kind of physical scene, it’s never particularly interested me; and more broadly, I don’t have much interest in the micro ‘process’ side of cultural production. I think it’s good if people recognise that art isn’t produced in a vacuum, and question the way in which artistic creation interacts with broader social and economic contexts; but at the same time I do tend to subscribe to the view of not particularly caring about artists’ personal or even professional lives as a lens through which to view their work. It is a creation, after all, which implies something distinct. On the other hand, it’s hard not be aware of such things if you’re historically sensitive: I wrote a thesis which substantially involved researching the unsavoury life of a man who wrote some intellectually valuable books in response to his time, but containing flaws both internal and external to himself. We love stories, to know the deeper meaning to things, which is a good instinct; but often it changes, and perhaps distorts, our appreciation of whatever meaning excited us about that book or album in the first place.
Then again, nothing lasts forever, which is kind of the point.