Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade: #947 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Husker Du - Zen Arcade

Why is Zen Arcade’s Zen Arcade on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Variety and range, from hardcore punk to an acoustic jam that you could almost imagine being on a 1980s era Midnight Oil record.

Some stats & info about Hüsker DüZen Arcade

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Alternative Rock, Rock, Punk Rock, New Wave, College Rock, Indie Rock, Hardcore Punk
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating5 out of 5 stars!
  • When was Zen Arcade released? 1984
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #947 out of 1,000

Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.

What does Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

Hüsker Dü has long been one of those bands that I’ve kind of been aware of, have kind of dug some of their stuff (particularly “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely,” which is great and is on the fantastic Adventureland soundtrack, one of my most favorite movies of all time). And through the long but super fun months (like, we’re talking over nine months) of doing research for this here best 1,000 albums of all time project, one of its many pleasures have been to dive deeper into bands like Hüsker Dü to see what the fuss is about.

And with Hüsker Dü, I’m very glad that I did. Zen Arcade was absolutely one of those albums that one sort of feels one should know something about if you’re “into music” (or at least someone of my general generation and demo, if you can dig).

It’s an album that’s fairly accessible at first – even compared with other Hüsker Dü albums – and rewards repeat listens.

Accessible… at least to me. As a huge Bad Religion fan, I realized that I hear a lot Bad Religion in Hüsker Dü, though I’m not sure what the breakdown is in terms of the influence they might have in one another. As an aside (another aside?), I’ve started reading a great book about the American indie rock scene in the 1980s, called “This Band Could Be Your Life,” and perhaps I’ll get some answers there.

But back to Zen Arcade. “Broken Home, Broken Heart” is a very Bad Religion-y song, which in my book is a huge compliment.

Another reason this is a great album is because of its variety and range. “Never Talking to You Again” is an acoustic song (on an album that has full blown hardcore punk going on at times!) with guitar work that you could almost imagine being on a 1980s era Midnight Oil record. And, what’s more, even though it almost feels like a throwaway or interstitial at one minute and forty seconds, it might be my favorite song on Zen Arcade.

And speaking of hardcore punk, very high quality work put in on “I’ll Never Forget You,” which sounds a little Minor Threat-y (read = this is legit).