#53, "Books About UFOs," Hüsker Dü (1985)

I am not a big Husker Du fan. I’m Husker Du-adjacent. I’m a Husker Du sympathizer, to paraphrase Brandt’s relationship with punk rock.* I respect Husker Du. I love Sugar, love Bob Mould solo. I for some reason never got into Grant Hart solo quite as much, even though I lean Hart when picking out my favorite Husker Du songs. 


*Brandt, who named his cat Husker Du. 


I watched with mild interest as Pete very consciously got into Husker Du and I picked up what I know along the way. Pete got into Husker Du in the late 90s because they’re an essential feature of punk history (his is to leave no stone unturned) and also because Bob Mould-lead projects are among our good friend Mike’s favorites. I got the mixtape treatment and a handful of tunes are Really Outstanding. Most of the albums are Pretty Good. I will occasionally put one on.


“Books About UFOs” and New Day Rising are respectively the Really Outstandingest and the most Pretty Good of all of Husker Du’s output. I will not fight anyone about either opinion. I wasn’t even sure whether this was popular opinion or not and it seems like Culture is also ambivalent about which Husker Du album is the best. I feel like people like Zen Arcade if they’re originalists, they like New Day Rising or Flip Your Wig if they don’t care about leaning into the easy choice, and like Candy Apple Grey if they love staying in bed all day. 


I love “Books About UFOs.” It is Husker Du’s most fun song. This is not in dispute. It’s light. So light, it’s bouncy. The piano is PLAYFUL. I’ve conducted an exhaustive internet search to determine whether anyone else finds any subtext and it seems as if THERE ISN’T ANY. It’s just a lovely song about a cool girl who has a quirky interest everyone knows about. I have always known I’m not a Cool Girl Who Had a Quirky Interest Everyone Knows About, but have always sort of wanted to be one. I’ve never had the attention span to have a niche interest. Except 80s and 90s sitcoms. And cats. And David Bowie. OK maybe I’m just not that cool.


I am still mad that we missed Grant Hart at Andyman’s Treehouse in Columbus in 2010. I think we were on vacation in California or something drastic like that. We would NOT have missed it under any other circumstances. It would turn out to be our last opportunity to see him before he died. We’ve seen Bob Mould twice. Once on the much derided Modulate. Tour. That was, for a really long time, my very favorite concert ever (displacing the previous champions, the Beastie Boys, since displaced by Sleater Kinney and then Ween). I’ll save my story about the second time I’d ever seen Bob Mould for another post. It’s very sad that we’ll never see a Husker Du reunion, but I guess those dreams were dashed by Bob Mould himself back in 2016 amid reunion rumors. Maybe it’s best. I always get excited about the prospect of these things but can count on one hand how many times they work out.