Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hüsker Dü - " Data Control" From the Album Land Speed Record

Truly a song for the mp3 era 25 years before it arrived, "Data Control" is the kind of track pointed to with satisfaction by those who haven't really minded the Death of the Album: a fantastic song on an otherwise mediocre LP.

Land Speed Record was actually the first Hüsker Dü album I ever bought, and I had actually done so through mail-order. I'm maybe 20, 21, and still had no car and no checking account. So I rode my bike down to the 7-11, bought a money order for 7 bucks or whatever it was, made it out to New Alliance, and dropped it in the mail: a pretty big deal for me at the time.

And then three weeks later it shows up, and man, the first 16 songs did *not* go well. I'd heard the Dü were all about the melody, but I sure as fuck couldn't find any on Land Speed Record. Everything was short choppy and fast: nothing wrong there, but there was no tunage. The sound sucked, and it was all formless. Not only was there nothing grabbing you, but you couldn't even tell when one "song" ended and the next began.

I was kind of hoping "Gilligan's Island" might be a cover of the TV theme song--reaching for something, anything, to grab onto--but no such luck.

So, fuck. Taken for 7 bucks. But wait: what's this last song? Whoa, it's slower, and you can actually make out the lyrics. Still crappy sound, but here, the ominous bass comes off as portentous, like the rumbling of turbines and generators, and the percussion that seemingly consists only of cymbals crashing is the sound of glass windows smashing on the thirtieth floor.

Though it has nothing whatsoever to do with the places Hüsker Dü would later visit, "Data Control" is the one time on Land Speed Record where the Minneapolis trio were able to harness the rage. Everywhere else, the band's anger makes a sloppy inchoate mess; on "Data Control," if you (and Mould and Hart and Norton) can stand the analogy, at least the columns line up.

Hüsker Dü - Land Speed Record - 17 - Data Control.mp3

192 kbps mp3, up for six weeks (or more) (Right click and save as target)

File Under: Great songs on crappy albums

1 comment:

Derek said...

for the record, that actually IS a cover of the TV theme song. Grant Hart rewrote the lyrics though

Also do you not like hardcore punk?! this album kicks ass and is in fact better than the last two albums they did. it only sounds shitty cause it was live and recorded to two-track tape. I hope you've listened to Everything Falls Apart since writing this!