Sound — 9
Flip Your Wig is a 1985 album by the American punk rock band, Husker Du, and their last release on SST Records. Husker Du were one of the loudest and most thrashy acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s. When I first got this album, I didn't like it, but once I listened to it again, I was able to understand and enjoy it better. The production is considerably cleaner and more professional than their previous works, making it all go down a little easier while losing little of their intense power. And though the lyrics can still sound plenty anguished, the overall tone is far more optimistic, which is fitting considering the poppier music, on which melody shines through more forcefully than ever. For people wanting to get into Husker Du, this album would be a great start along with the classic Zen Arcade.
Lyrics — 9
The songs on here represent the best showing of Hart and Mould both together and individually as songwriters within the band. The songwriting becomes even more melodic and accessible here, while the playing is ragged yet tight. "Flip your Wig" and "Keep Hanging On" became staples of the band's live shows, while power pop anthem "Makes No Sense at All" was featured in a music video. Aside from the somewhat silly (and mindlessly catchy) "Hate Paper Doll," side one may be the best that this band ever did. 01.Flip Your Wig (Mould) 2:33: the title track was the opening for many of their stage shows. It is a fun, little song with Bob Mould and Grant Hart both providing lead vocals. I like the lyrics: "Sunday section gave us a mention/ Grandma's freaking out over the attention/ Now my friends abound They're coming back around./ Long distance on the other end says I need them for a friend/ No matter what I choose I'm the one they want to use." Still, I'm not all that crazy about this song. I think it is because I do not like the saying "flip your wig." It's so bleh. 02.Every Everything (Hart) 1:56: storming rocker by Grant Hart. The tempo really kicks at the chorus. A hard rockin' two minutes! 03.Makes No Sense At All (Mould) 2:43: one of the Huskers most recognizable songs. It was released as a single backed with the Minneapolis-based Mary Tyler Moore Show theme "Love Is All Around" complete with music video. A Husker Du standard. 04.Hate Paper Doll (Mould) 1:52: I don't care for this song. It is very recognizable. As soon as it pops on I think, "Ugh! That paper doll song!" It just seems a bit hokey for me (for lack of a better term). 05.Green Eyes (Hart) 2:58: one of Grant Hart's best! A love song without sounding like one. Not sappy, but sweet with a cool guitar riff provided by Mould that drives the track. 06.Divide & Conquer (Mould) 3:42: a noisy rocker by Bob Mould. Not one of my all-time Husker favorites, but it's good once in a while. 07.Games (Mould) 4:06: this song is just OK. It is not near as hokey as "Hate Paper Doll," but "It's a game that anyone can play" line, musically, seems a bit contrived. 08.Find Me (Mould) 4:05: a strong hard rocker by Mould. The intensity stays with this one while the other heavy Mould track "Divide & Conquer" rocks out at the end. This song drags a little. Excellent, emotional vocals by Mould. 09.The Baby Song (Hart) 0:46: well, at least it's only 46 seconds, It is Grant Hart playing around on a slide whistle. 10.Flexible Flyer (Hart) 3:01: Hart makes up for the bad filler track with this one. This is a fun, accessible song about enjoying life using a popular sled as an example. "If your heart is a flame burning brightly/ You'll have light and you'll never be cold/ And, soon you will know that you just grow/ You're not growing old." Great track! One of my all-time Husker Du favorites! I only wish Hart's vocals were louder and clearer. His voice seems so quiet on some of these tracks. 11.Private Plane (Mould) 3:17: nice, straight-forward rocker. Airlines seems to be a recurring theme with Husker Du ("Find Me", "Dead Set on Destruction"). 12.Keep Hanging On (Hart) 3:15: a Grant Hart classic! From the opening bass line on, this song just kicks! Hart's vocals are excellent here, too. 13.The Wit and the Wisdom (Mould) 3:41: dark, foreboding instrumental. 14.Don't Know Yet (Mould) 1:56: interesting instrumental. It has a cool vibrating guitar sound. It is OK as an album ending.
Overall Impression — 10
I think I was expecting a little much out of this album, after hearing "Zen Arcade". I mentioned my opinion of the songs from the album in the previous paragraph. A lot of hardcore bands kind of suck once they slow down (Circle Jerks) but this is great. This is a great album to listen to, and if you're a fan, you won't want to be without this, but if you are a newcomer, I highly recommend getting Zen Arcade first. This is a great album, and it deserves to be heard. The only thing I dislike about this album is the somewhat lazy production/recording. If this album was lost or stolen, I might buy it again, or I would get a Bob Mould solo, or something by his band Sugar.