I grew up on the Huskers and Workbook and have everything since, but I have to say this is Bob’s best solo record since Workbook. The tunes are insightful and packed with energy. He’s more consistent on this album than any since Sugar – Copper Blue. This will not disappoint long time fans. Turn the volume way up!
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
I admit I prejudged this release. I saw the Rolling Stone review and then put off purchasing. But after hearing Life and Times I had to post a positive review. C’mon people, let’s get that Amazon star rating up! Life and Times is Bob Mould doing what he does best. Amazing songwriting, stunning musicianship, beautifully sequenced. Truly sounds great as an album, not a collection of songs. Rocks hard when it needs to, acoustic here and there, inventive solos, and some experimental stuff at the end. Take that Rolling Stone!
I have been listening to Bob Mould since before people told me to purchase Husker Du because I was listening to too much of Sugar.
This is Bob Mould’s best and most well-rounded solo album since his
1996 solo LP “Bob Mould”.
“Life and Times” is a very focused record, and has more in common with
“Modulate” and his work in the trio Sugar than his latest LPs.
If “Bob Mould,” “The Last Dog and Pony Show,” “District Line,” “Modulate,”
and “Black Sheets of Rain” are your least favorite albums by Mould, then
you won’t really find anything to like here.
However, if you particularly enjoy his electronic meanderings and his
singluarly authentic ‘voice’ on lead guitar, then you are in for a treat
with “Life and Times”.
Although it is impossible for Mould to top his work with Sugar or
his solo masterpiece “Workbook,” this is as good as he’s ever sounded.
As an avid fan of almost everything Bob has done musically (come on, do you really listen to Modulate?), I followed most of the publicity prior to the release of this album, which Bob himself described as a return to his Workbook era, some 20 years ago. After the disappointment of District Line (which had only a few moments of brilliance and a many moments of mediocrity), I cautiously previewed the songs for Life and Times and was impressed enough to shell out my cash for this latest installment of Bob’s impressive career.
This album is a big improvement over the aforementioned District Line – the electronics are less prominent in the mix (which Bob should ideally reserve for Blowoff) and the addition of Jon Wurster of Superchunk behind the kit has added to the sound. Bob seems re-energized by the simplicity of the songs and the production has been stripped down to fewer elements when held up against all his previous 00’s releases. The bleeps and electronica soundscapes are no longer at the forefront as they were on District Line and Body of Song, and are almost completely replaced with passionate and honest performances which add to the strength of this superior collection of songwriting.
Life and Times is a ‘give the people what they want’ effort; the vast majority of Bob Mould die-hards want to hear compelling guitars and gritty vocals, not ‘techno’! Any comparisons between Workbook would be unfair given the fact that Workbook is the greatest monument of his solo career thus far; if you are looking for Workbook 2, then you won’t find it here. Life and Times would rate as his strongest collection of songs since his self-titled album from 1996. Key tracks include the opener ‘Life and Times’ (which, of all the tracks, would actually have fit perfectly on Workbook), ‘The Breach’, ‘Spiraling Down’ and the single ‘I’m Sorry Baby…’. These four tracks alone warrant any fan of Bob Mould purchasing this strong album. This is not quite Workbook, but defintely in the upper half of his solid resume.
As with virtually all of Bob Mould’s releases, I love some songs, I like some others and don’t feel strongly for one or two. Overall, Life and Times is a solid release. Bob draws on his punk past, his dance DJ present, digs deep emotionally on wrenching songs like Bad Blood Letter, and throws some pop bones to his fans with the title track and I’m Sorry Baby…. Rolling Stone gave this a so-so review but I find a whole lot to like about Life and Times. Bob’s the real deal. I have a long history with him and you (well, at least I) can tell that he pours a lot of himself into his music. That’s all I need from a gifted musician. I’m psyched! Bob’s got a new album out!