New Bob, Old Bob

I'm a bit astonished by the consensus that Bob Mould's new album, Life And Times, is the best and most accomplished work he's produced since the last worthwhile thing he did (Hüsker Dü/Sugar/Workbook, take your pick). Were people really so uncomfortable with the electronic aspects of the last few albums that toning it down a bit fooled everyone into gushing about his return to rock (and consequently, legitimacy)? For me the problem with this decade's output has less to do with his attempt to graft electronica onto alt-rock, and more to do with the fact that the songs were limp, tailor-made-for-tv-drama drivel. With one exception (the succinct "Argos" is as good as anything on 1998's Last Dog And Pony Show), Life And Times continues the downward trend that first became overbearing on 2002's Modulate. Lyrically, things get downright ugly, the title "I'm Sorry, Baby, But You Can't Stand In My Light Any More" conveying this better than I could.

Speaking of Workbook though, I recently found my copy of the "See A Little Light" 45, a record I forgot I had. The middling but upbeat single was probably the obvious choice, considering what a downer the rest of the album was. But tucked away on side b is "All Those People Know", exclusive to this single (as far as I know), and much stronger than the a side. Note the tasteful synths on the track. A cool rarity overall.



Bob Mould "See A Little Light" (from Workbook / "See A Little Light", 1989)

Bob Mould "All Those People Know" (from "See A Little Light", 1989)

79 comments:

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