Line Out Music & the City at Night

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Never Heard of 'Em: Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade

Posted by on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.

Zen Arcade

First, a digression: ROCK DOTS (oh, the assonance! So poetic!). Or: Röck Döts?! Also known as a "heavy metal umlaut," röck döts are the dots sitting atop a letter "gratuitously or decoratively" in a band name, according to Wikipedia—e.g., Blue Öyster Cult, Mötley Crüe, etc. (Is anyone else craving the impossible-to-masticate candies called Dots now?) Because of their röck döts, I'd always assumed that Hüsker Dü were a tacky metal band. Ööps! Turns out they're hardcore, punk, or thrash—hardcore is a kind of punk, right? And thrash is a kind of metal... The music taxonomy eludes me yet again. What's important is that they were influential and not commercially successful—catnip to music nerds' little noses.

I started listening to Zen Arcade after the interwebs decreed it in our blog poll. I walked around the city buying groceries, dodging rush-hour pedestrian mobs, baking a little in the late sun. I did not love it; I did not hate it. It was yelly, but I'm used to giving that a chance now.

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