Sugar “Copper Blue”

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#549 in the Series) is Sugar, Copper Blue

Bob Mould is getting a lot of press these days. His autobiography, See A Little Light: Tales of Rage and Melody is one of the best of its genre I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend it. Usually I start these books, get my interested piqued for a while, then the minutia of the “road stories” gets old and I’m fighting to keep plundering through. Not so much the case with this one, as it’s a story of a man with a remarkable life that centers around music but also openly and shamelessly describes the demons and drive that have made him successful.  The result of reading this, however, inspired me to revisit his music throughout the years, and I got to go on the journey with him in my own way. But, this isn’t about the book.

I hadn’t listened to Copper Blue in its entirety for a while, and picked the perfect road trip weekend to do so. A solo drive on Indiana interstates isn’t usually particularly inspirational, but Bob’s guitar and searing vocals got it going (miraculously with no tickets!). The album opens with The Act We Act, a song of sad desperation that Mould does well, albeit in a scorching rather than melancholy way. My favorite of this album is “Hoover Dam,” the brooding, erie opening gives an anticipatory and foreboding feel before it launches into what is to me just a really cool song.  The metaphoric lyrics “All that’s left of me is slight insanity/What’s on the right I don’t know” are examples of most of the conflicted and confessional feelings he writes about on this album.  “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” is about the most “radio-ready” tune on here, but it doesn’t pander as if that’s the intended effect.

Copper Blue was the debut album of Sugar in 1992, and many say picked up the Husker Du sound where it left off, though in a more natural way as opposed to the two solo albums Mould put out post-Husker Du which seemed to some forced and over arranged. Copper Blue was named the NME Album of the Year for 1992 and Spin magazine named it #6 of its top 20 albums, and a remastered vinyl release was released on Rykodisk in June of this year. When this was first released, a limited edition in a metal copper sleeve with a signed Polaroid would have been cool to have. But since I got my regular copy in a trade with this and The Last Dog and Pony Show for my scratched up Lowell George solo (Thanks, I’ll Eat it Here, a wonderful listen itself), I think I did ok. Give this one another listen. And if you’re so inclined, read the book too.

— Kristin Morrisson

Track Listing

  1. The Act We Act (Mould) 5:10
  2. A Good Idea (Mould) 3:47
  3. Changes (Donaldson, Mould) 5:01
  4. Helpless (Mould) 3:05
  5. Hoover Dam (Mould) 5:27
  6. The Slim (Mould) 5:14
  7. If I Can’t Change Your Mind (Mould) 3:18
  8. Fortune Teller (Mould) 4:27
  9. Slick (Mould) 4:59
  10. Man on the Moon (Mould) 4:32

Personnel

  • Bob Mould – Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
  • David Barbe – Bass
  • Malcolm Travis –  Drums, Percussion

Links

Here’s the album in a video playlist, we’ve included cool live versions.

BONUS VIDEO: The Decemberists cover “If I Can’t Change Your Mind”

Posted by Kristin Morrisson

2 Comments

  1. Dave (13 Nov 2011, 11:57)
    Reply

    Very nice! Really enjoyed The Decemberists cover.

  2. Mark (15 Nov 2011, 21:52)
    Reply

    Sugar hti like a ton of bricks and were gone just as fast. Every cut on this album is worth listening too, notthing to skip over here.



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