Of all the enduring figures of college rock’s heyday in the nineteen-eighties and early nineteen-nineties, no one mines their own history more effectively than Bob Mould. Across his last several albums, Mould has drawn upon most of the sounds that have shaped his career from Hüsker Dü’s power to Sugar’s sheen to the measured intricacies of much of his preceding solo work. One musical characteristic that’s been largely absent across that recent work is a proper nod to Mould’s foundational beginnings in the hardcore scene. Evidently, he just needed to get angry enough.
“American Crisis” speaks to the calamity of now with earned fury. “I never thought I’d see this bullshit again” is the first enraged lyric, followed by a stream of invectives against the regressive attitudes that have led to the current place, with people literally fighting for their lives against a callous power structure desperate the maintain the imbalance of rich, white, male, heterosexual, cisgendered privilege. There are a multitude of sonic representations of morally necessary rebellion. I have to admit, Mould’s version is the one I most favor. It scorches.