To think there was once a time when 30 was considered way too "old" for a rock musician! I mean, just imagine Mick Jagger singing "Satisfaction" at 40. Crazy thoughts! Surely, a stable career in finance would beckon. Well, for Mr. Jagger, in a sense it did. He just managed to keep his night job. Bob Mould, on the other hand, nearly retired when he began writing wrestling scripts 10 years ago. His old bass player from Hüsker Dü now runs a restaurant. And while Mould's certainly a guy of many talents, at 47, he's clearly meant to keep on keepin' on with this music thing because his latest solo album, District Line — featuring Fugazi's Brendan Canty on drums and Amy Domingues on cello — sports the kind of natural quality tuneage other songwriters spend a lifetime chasing.
Mould's always been a mixed bag kind of guy. Hüsker Dü's peaks were breathtaking. But whether it was the era's limited recording budgets, the band's manic creative pace or the desire to explore every possibility, the Dü could be maddeningly inconsistent. Mould's early solo work found him searching for his voice, while Sugar initially gave him the loving context he'd been looking for before naturally petering out.
Now, it's the years of introspection, an understanding and acceptance of fortune's capricious hand, and a confidence in what Mould knows he does best that means tunes like "Again and Again" and "The Silence Between Us" are milked for emotive moments where his voice cracks in trademark sadness. Elsewhere, "Shelter Me" balances Mould's fascination with the technological possibilities of the recording studio without sacrificing his 'song-first' philosophy. While nothing on District Line sounds like a man staring into a godless abyss and contemplating the meaning of it all, it does possess a mature suspect beauty, a steadying calm where the guitars still threaten something ominous. Mould's at peace, but with one eye open. Just in case ...
Rob O'Connor writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.