Saturday, 5 July 2014

50 albums to take to my grave #10: Copper Blue

This piece was prepared and ready to go when S-WC posted this on Monday. Oh well, I don't have an alternative so here's my effort. Sorry it's not as good as S-WC's...

OK, just to get it out there before I begin - Bob Mould is a fucking rock god. There is no argument, no debate, no discussion. 'Tis a fact and thats the end of it.

Right, now on to the critical appraisal. Sugar was formed by Mould following his first two solo albums. 'Copper Blue', their debut record, has three main selling points: huge riffs, strong melodies and, of course, Bob Mould at the helm. Mould isn't afraid to rock, as everyone knows from his Hüsker Dü days; let us not forget he practically invented alternative rock. But 'Copper Blue' wasn't all about being all groundbreaking and edgy - it had proper tunes, songs that could get played on radio, earworms that would burrow into your head and sing to you for days/weeks at a time.

I was blown away the first time I heard it. We get thick, chunky punk guitar riffs right from the off with The Act We Act, while A Good Idea sounds like the greatest Pixies song that wasn't actually the Pixies. Helpless is a pop song at its core, If I Can't Change Your Mind is just pop all over, while Fortune Teller vomits up the pop within it, spits it out and cleanses its palate with more guitars. Turned up loud.

And that's probably the one thing I still hold dear about 'Copper Blue' - it just FUCKIN' ROCKS LIKE A BASTARD! This is a rarity when you have such a stong set of songs - how do you get those melodies to the fore while keeping those guitars sounding monstrous? Well, it's Bob Mould so if anyone can do it, he can. "Standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam" he sings, and you can quite believe he actually is, the vast space around him filled with loud, melodic alternative rock music.

Bob Mould today.
Well, recently anyway...
What's really interesting is how Bob's most recent solo outings have channelled the spirit of 'Copper Blue'. This may be, in part at least, because 'Copper Blue' recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary and Mould went on tour playing the entire record start to finish. But there's no doubt the 'Copper Blue' formula worked, it remains one of Mould's best loved (and most commercially successful) records.

Few records still grab me by the throat in the same way 20-plus years after they first did. 'Copper Blue' is one of them though. I find it impossible to listen to just one or two tracks without wanting to listen to the whole damn thing. I'm listening to it right now as I type this, and I find myself bouncing around in my seat, smashing my fingers rhythmically on the desk and beaming widely like a complete imbecile. And that's all you need to know about how this album makes me feel.


  1. To this album there is only one word to describe: magnificently! If Hüsker Dü were fantastic, Bob Mould made a masterpiece. I still listen to the complete record some times. Great choice Robster

  2. It is a magnificent record and you are way to harsh on yourself, the line about Fortune Teller is spot on, it does vomit up the pop, almost like it can't way to spit it out. I also can't help but listen to the whole thing through all the time. My only regret was that Mould binned 'JC Auto' from the sessions because it was 'too dark'. If that had closed 'Copper Blue' it would have been one of the best two records ever made. Just imagine it.....S-WC. Oh next week is Four Tet 'Rounds'.....just in case. :-)