WHAT Hüsker Dü - Makes No Sense At All
WHEN Newport Market - 1988
A sound that I had in my head before I heard it. Their combination of noise and melody was seemingly imprinted in my brain and it just needed the right record to unlock it and everything else followed. Hüsker Dü were my entry drug to a whole new world of music, behaviour and ideas that didn’t exist in my small village. In a pre-internet world, all of this came just from the records, not Googled interviews, Facebook fandom and Twitter exposés. To get copies of "Zen Arcade", "New Day Rising" and "Flip Your Wig", I had to travel 14 miles to the punk record stall upstairs in Newport’s Indoor Market. The stall holders were at the whims of the ramshackle international distribution of independent record labels and classic albums of that time - Swans, Dinosaur Jr, Fugazi, Butthole Surfers. Meat Puppets - would sometimes be unavailable for months at a time. All this now seems unbelievable in a world where music is ubiquitous. It was scarce, precious, valuable.
“Makes No Sense At All” is two and half minutes long, 61 words, 18 lines, job done. And yet in that brevity, it has doubt and confusion.
“You concern yourself with evidence
It’s evident to me
Well, you say you’ve got the tiger by the tail
But I don’t see these things that way”
Despite the insistent guitar buzz, Hüsker Dü were the antithesis of didactic, confident guitar rock. Their songs are vulnerable and all about the shades of grey. They’re littered with real world failures about good love gone bad, broken friendships and ageing parents. It is domestic, bruised and compassionate. Their final recorded track is called ‘You Can Live At Home Now’. It’s a pretty far cry from ‘We Will Rock You’.
By the time Hüsker Dü became a part of my life, they’d already split up. That’s a good thing. I never want them to reform. They will never, ever disappoint me.