Bob Mould: Blue Hearts (Merge) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020  

Bob Mould

Blue Hearts

Merge

Sep 25, 2020 Issue #67 - Phoebe Bridgers and Moses Sumney Bookmark and Share


The fire in Bob Mould’s belly can’t be extinguished. 

After several late-career solo albums backed by one of the tightest bands since Sugar, Mould follows up last year’s Sunshine Rock with a darker, more urgent album, Blue Hearts. Blue Hearts is Mould at his fiercest and most deliberate. The album is a 14-song screed that tackles the current sociopolitical climate of confusion and upheaval. “I wear my heart on my sleeve…and we’re going to war/And we’re going to die,” Mould chokes out on the acoustic opener “Heart on My Sleeve” before ripping the roof off the building with the fury of “Next Generation.” Nearly breaking his own land speed record, Mould’s voice is loud enough for future generations to hear: “Take to the streets for your rights/Who knows what things like/Two generations from will be now.”      

The most potent blow comes in “American Crisis,” an enraged call that digs in and pummels your senses. From the unruly yawp Mould unleashes at the song’s start to his tired breathing as the song careens closed, “American Crisis” is the protest song of 2020. Period. “Never thought I’d see this bullshit again/To come of age in the ’80s was bad enough,” Mould sings. “Welcome back to American crisis/No telling what the price is.” 

Mould pulls us in close with his punk rock hooks and passion to spare, but not all the songs are weighed down with the burden of protest. “Siberian Butterfly” and “Everything to You” are rock songs from Mould’s perfect pop playbook. “Baby Needs a Cookie” and album closer “The Ocean” switch up the tempo for a more moderate swing, showing off Mould’s musical chops and his rhythm section’s groove. Mould is rightfully, righteously angry on Blue Hearts, but his anger is a multi-faceted beast as deep as the ocean. He’s an elder statesman, a musical godfather with an axe to grind and he’s got a lot on his mind these days. Thank God he’s come back around to show us what true protest music sounds and feels like during our uniquely American crisis. (www.bobmould.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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