Hüsker Dü

I Apologize

Composed by Bob Mould

Song Review by

"I Apologize" is one of the catchiest tracks from Hüsker Dü's groundbreaking New Day Rising LP. In fact, if you were to strip away the band's ferocious attack and toned down Bob Mould's gut-busting vocal you would be left with well a written folk-rock tune. But it is the very product of this strange alchemy that sets the band apart. Can you imagine the Sex Pistols singing anything as sensitive as "I Apologize/Said I'm sorry/Now it's your turn/Can you look me in the eyes and apologize?" But Hüsker Dü manages to pull it off without sounding syrupy, cloaking sentimentality in a cathartic fury, swathed in distortion as the music tumbles forward at breakneck speeds, venting personal frustrations in the release of jubilant chord progressions while Mould gets emotional spilling his apoplectic diatribes in a husky rush of words. Mould's harangues are shaded with the plaintive hurt of the deeply wounded as he offers in the simmering opening lines, "All these crazy mixed-up lies/Floating all around/Making these assumptions brings me down/And you get tight-lipped/How do I know what you think?/Is it something I said when I lost my mind?/Temper too quick, makes me blind." Here the music is swept up in the rising chords of the chorus only to be choked by Hart's stuttering rhythms punctuating the end of each line. The band also shows a growing tightness, able to navigate the arrangement's many sharp corners at dizzying speeds. In "I Apologize" can be heard some of the very first signs of post-punk (born of the early-'80s hardcore scene) assimilating truly mainstream pop hooks with at least a gesture toward commercialism. This would be producer Spot's last project with the group and as he so keenly observed in Michael Azerrad's excellent chronicle of the era, Our Band Could Be Your Life, "They had tuneful material. They were kind of working from within a classic pop structure. And doing something else with it. Kind of like they broke into it with a coat hanger and got the keys out and went on a joy ride. And then ran out the tires."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
New Day Rising 1985 SST
blue highlight denotes editor's pick