Sound: While Husker Du's story ended tragically, they were probably one of the most influential bands for any group that came out of the mid to late 1980's and early 1990's. I was shocked to find that there were no reviews for Candy Apple Grey because it seems like that's where a lot of the influence came from. If not Zen Arcade, then Candy Apple Grey would be the next best candidate for a review. Fortunately someone else has covered the tremendous double-vinyl monster that got them their big break.
If you're a big fan of Zen Arcade, this may not be the best album for you to pick up. Early Husker Du was much more of a band without a sound. By the time Candy Apple Grey came out, they had a definitive sound that worked out surprisingly well. It's the same with any band that matures, the only difference is that Husker Du went without a sound for a good bit. Therefore, no one could say, "This doesn't sound like Husker Du."
The album starts off fast and hard with "Crystal." An opening of static followed by a fast paced snare and then the guitar kicks in and takes you flying into the album. It gets you pumped especially by the time Bob sings, "It's time to let off some pressure, it's time to let off some steam" and doesn't stop until after you get through "Sorry Somehow." After that it slows down a little bit with a bummer of a song titled "Too Far Down." The sounds of a lone guitar mixed with Bob Mould's haunting vocals really takes the setting down a few pegs and it works beautifully. Afterward is little bit brighter sounding song.
Though it sounds brighter, "Hardly Getting Over It" is still downtrodden as the title implies. Afterward you get a good upper beat "Dead Set on Destruction" from Grant Hart and "Eiffel Tower High" from Bob Mould, which gets you pumped just in time for another slower more melancholy "No Promise Have I Made." The piano on this track is beautiful and from what I remember is the only song with a piano on the album. The track closes out with a little bit more of a brighter sound just in time for the final track "All This I've Done For You."
Much like the rest of the album the lyrics aren't particularly happy, but the energy is similar to "Eiffel Tower High" which makes this a great track to close on so you don't try to blow your head off. // 9
Lyrics: Lyrically, this is the most depressing album I've heard. Not long before I began writing this, I was reading a chapter in Chuck Klosterman's book Fargo Rock City about kids blowing their heads off while listening to heavy metal and I now find myself asking if anyone did this listening to Candy Apple Grey.
I am not saying that this (the fact that it is lyrically depressing) is a bad thing. If anything it's a great thing. Similar to Dinosaur Jr's "Thumb" I enjoy the sadness in these songs because I can identify with it. Mould and Hart both put into words the feelings that we have all felt (there's at least one song that you will lyrically identify with on this album). Whether it be "Don't Want To Know if You Are Lonely," "Hardly Getting Over It," or any other song on this album, the lyrics give you something to relate those thoughts or moments in your life. // 9
Overall Impression: This is by far my favorite album from Husker Du. Tracks like "Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely" and "Too Far Down" give me that sinking feeling in my chest. Even if that's not the feeling you want, you cannot deny that the album makes you have some kind of emotional connection. It can make you pissed off or maybe just sad, but it makes you feel something. If you can find a copy, do not pass it up. // 9