The guitar work is simply amazing. The lyrics.... well... The guitar parts are really good, and Bob was showing us that he could be sensitive and introspective. Not just the angry and violent Bob that showed up a lot in the Hüsker Dü days. Please understand that I am not saying that all Hüsker Dü songs were angry or violent. In fact there are some quite beautiful songs, most of which came in the later years, but when you look back at the early stuff, there's a lot of rage there. Take a song like "Bricklayer" for example, from the album Land Speed Record. This song has an incredibly quick pace, incredibly poor structure, incredibly short running time, and lots of aggression to boot. If I remember right, the chorus goes "Brick out the window on the top of your head / Brick on the head / You are a fuckhead". I've digressed. That isn't the point here.
The aggression and rage isn't really there on Workbook, although it would show back up for Black Sheets of Rain. We got to hear songs with structure, some damn fine guitar playing (did I say that already?), and we got to feel bad in a whole different kind of way. Okay, the "feeling bad" isn't a good thing, but it's an interesting thing to have a lushly produced song with textbook jangly guitars make you feel like jumping off a bridge. Unfortunately, after track 5 ("side A") Workbook gets a little less compelling. The listener is rewarded for sticking it out with "Compositions for the Young and Old", which is the one standout from "side B". If you can ignore the lyrics and just listen to the music, you'll like it.
Although I didn't give Blacklisted a rating last week, I'll start the trend this week. I give Workbook 2.5 out of a possible 5 saute pans.
Some things I thought about while I was working:
- People are crazy enough to be doing one of the following two things: (1) stay in a Greensboro hotel, party all night, then get up mega-early to drive an hour and a half to the US Open tournamentament in Pinehurst, then back to the hotel EVERY DAY of the tournament; or (b) stay in a Pinehurst hotel and drive to Greensboro to party, then drive back to the hotel EVERY NIGHT of the tournament. By the way, the US Open of Golf is being played at Pinehurst #2 this year.
- The people who are doing one or the other of those things were very quick to tell anyone who would listen that they were going to the US Open, and were therefore being very pompous.
- While I was cooking for these people, my friend Reid was busy rocking out with his band, who were playing a gig with Bettie Serveert.
- No matter how hard you try, you cannot wish water into lemonade. Sure, I could have made a batch of lemonade, but that takes effort. I just wanted the instant gratification of a tall glass of cool, refreshing lemonade.
I encourage all of you to listen to a Neglected Record from your collection. It might be fun, and you might develop a newly-rediscovered love for, say, Matthew Sweet or The Catherine Wheel. Give it a shot.
Cocteau Twins Blue Bell Knoll