Bob Mould: Body of Song

No, I haven’t found the leaked album. But it’s not for lack of trying.

It’s late, so this will be kind of disjointed, but I wanted to get my first thoughts written down.

I was surfing through my blogroll, hitting sites I hadn’t hit in a while, when I surfed over to Bob Mould‘s blog. He’s been promising us a guitar-driven album for a while now—several years, in fact—and, lo and behold, Body of Song is finally due for release next month! I also learned from Bob’s blog that the album had been leaked.

Which, of course, set me to trying to find it.

I did manage to find it on Soulseek, but the guy logged off before I could get ANY of it. Now, you watch: I’ll wake up in the morning and Aaron will have read this and downloaded a torrent of it overnight. [No, wait, there it is. Only 3.5 KB/sec, but it’s going. I’ll have it by the time Aaron gets home.]

Anyway, I did find a couple of sanctioned tracks: (Shine Your) Light Love Hope, and Paralyzed.

“Light Love Hope” was the first song I listened to. WTF, I said. This was supposed to be a guitar album. This is electronica. Granted, it’s better electronica than the crap we downloaded a few years ago, and the infectious bass drum / cymbal beat did have me tapping my foot (against my better judgement). But that Cher-style electronic pitch-bending thing just annoys the LIVING SHIT out of me. Being that the song seems to be centered around that little audio trick, it doesn’t do much for me. I also couldn’t really see Bob doing this song live acoustic as written. The audio tricks and the backbeat are really what drives it, more than a melodic line. Of course, Bob is notorious for singing the harmony instead of the melody when he goes solo, which makes things much more interesting, so maybe it could work in a conventional setting.

Then I found a link to the “Paralyzed” media player from the website (thanks, Google!), and I gave that a virtual spin. Now *this* sounds more like Bob. I can hear *massive* Sugar influences (appropriately enough, since David Barbe is playing on this record), but it also sounds like Bob’s more recent solo work in places. He can’t seem to get away from the electronica, though; the interludes between chorus and verse, and some of the underlying harmonies thoughout, have some definite synthesized-sounding tones to them. Still, though, it feels like Bob is back. Harmony, driving guitars, a powerful (but standard) rock drumbeat… OK. I like it.

What concerns me is that, on the record label’s media player, it says: ‘Written and recorded mostly over the course of the past year, Body Of Song is Mould’s first new album-length release since 2002, and his first since the mid-90s to employ a guitar-heavy full-band approach (“Paralyzed,” “Circles”).’ Um… does that mean that those are the only two songs that sound like this? Because, if they are, I may be disappointed in this album.

Of course, the website also says, ‘The release will be followed by a fall world tour that will see Mould performing material from all stages of his career (including Sugar, Husker Du and his solo recordings) for the first time in a full band context.’ Holy fuckin’ crap. Just don’t play anything from Modulate, and I’ll be girl-jizzing all over St. Andrew’s (or wherever we go see you AND PLEASE LET IT BE A WEEKEND).

Oh, and Bob? Us older fans are downloading your album for a test-drive because you alienated us and scared us shitless with that Modulate crap. We love you, man, and appreciate your need to grow and expand as a musician… but, you know. Fool me once…

So far, for me, the new album’s about 1 for 2. If we hear the rest in mp3 form, and we like it, we’ll buy it. We’re fans. We own ALL of your (good) albums. We’re not going to dick you over and not let you have your cut.

(We can’t speak for everyone else, you understand…)