Sugar Copper Blue
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You reap what you sow!!! You reap what you sow!!! You reap what you sow!!! I imagine Bob Mould had this inspirational line screaming in his head during moments of discouragement. Mould is, of course, the musical icon who was a member of Husker Du and Sugar as well as author of many solo endeavors. You reap what you sow!!! Having disbanded Husker Du in the late 80s Bob had already left a significant musical impact alongside fellow bands like the Minutemen and Replacements who had created a new musical scene that was forging its own identity and connecting with a different audience. However that popularity hadn’t turned into much coin and after the tumultuous break up of the Du, Bob had to be wondering if or when he would ever see the fruits of his labor. As the pulse of culture is ever changing it wasn’t long until the early 90s rolled around and the sound that Mould had helped pioneer had taken over the radio. So after recruiting a rhythm section Bob formed the band Sugar and released the most successful album of his career and finally received the recognition and success he had been working for. Even receiving NME’s ‘album of the year’ for 1992. Sugar sounds like a fine tuned Husker Du. Bob keeps the punk attitude but updates the rest. The production is now phenomenal, songs have more structure and the tones have changed. Mould might be punk at heart but he admits after hearing Loveless by MBV he recognized the need to expand his sound and to incorporate more majestic playing into his music. As a result Copper Blue is filled with solid anthem after anthem. No one would accuse this album as being as groundbreaking as Mould’s previous work but it is almost as gratifying an experience. Musically most of this is not very complex. The drumming however is incredible. I love that even in the studio you can tell how hard the drummer is smashing the drum heads. Furthermore he is constantly changing beats and patterns to drive the music perfectly. The bass playing on the record is almost too simple in a Pixies sort of way, especially on the track A Good Idea. Side note; is that a bong hit in the background at the start of the song? As usual Bob’s guitar playing is simple yet powerful and his husky vocals honestly carry the whole album. There’s a general positive vibe contained in this record that was a surprising change of pace for its creator. Lyrics often deal with uncertainty but embrace contentment and aspiration. Especially tracks like Hoover Dam which also features a rare keyboard cameo. Nonetheless songs like The Slim, where Mould sings as if out of breath, deal with the growing epidemic and effects of HIV and give this record an edge to keep it interesting. 3rd single Change Your Mind is the only time this record steps too far away from its punk origin and suffers for it. Yet unsurprisingly its catchiness and repetition made it perfect for radio play meaning the track is largely responsible for the album selling so many copies. These days its not all glamorous living for Mould. He does more that just guest spot on Foo Fighters records and swim in cash from his Daily Show theme song royalties. Bob still puts out fantastic solo releases from time to time and tours with a career spanning setlist. He freely admits Copper Blue is his favorite achievement and it set him up for success yet he is still constantly working hard on new projects. The reason for his relentless drive seems so apparent. You reap what you sow!!!