Life and Times
It’s hard to believe that Bob Mould is now fully twenty years into his solo career; it’s been thirty years since he founded Hüsker Dü! Some fans may prefer a specific style or period of Mould’s output over others; from his acoustic guitar-playing circa 1989′s Workbook to the electronica elements of 2002′s Modulate, his is indeed a varied corpus of work. But Life and Times doesn’t fit neatly at either stylistic extreme. Instead, it reminds us that Mould can still rock.
And boy, can he! Songs like “Wasted World,” with its visceral, shredding guitar solos, and the jaunty vocal snarls replete in the title track both serve as ample evidence. “City Lights (Days Go By)” features subtle layering of guitars and synths; but there’s still plenty of bite in the electric guitar solo breaks.
The whole album’s been in heavy rotation since it arrived, but one song in particular has been repeated the most. “I’m Sorry Baby, but You Can’t Stand in My Light Anymore” doesn’t pertain to my current, happy, domestic situation; but it’s a power pop ballad I’d have been glad to bring to bear during lousy adolescent dating situations. Simultaneously an expression of self-empowerment and a scathing indictment of an estranged lover, it’s easily one of the best hooks I’ve heard thus far in 2009. Anti is on a roll; in 2008, my favorite song was Billy Bragg’s “I Keep Faith!”