Today Bob Mould is 62. That simple fact brings me great joy.
As someone who has tried to remain creative into middle age, I am constantly worried that I will one day wake up and have nothing else to write. Nothing new to build. No areas of the craft or furniture left that I want to explore.
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Yet somehow every day I am eager to pick up the tools, read a new (or old) book and try something I haven’t done before. Will this urge leave me?
Maybe. But maybe not. And so I put Bob Mould’s latest album, “Blue Hearts,” and sit down with the LP’s lyric sheet in the library. I’ve been listening to Mould since I was 18 when I first heard “Flip Your Wig” thundering down the hallway of my dorm freshman year.
Mould’s band, Husker Du, were like nothing I had ever heard in Arkansas. And I would argue that he single-handedly changed the course of rock music while he was in his 20s.
Out of debt to this man, I bought every one of his albums when they came out. When he slipped into electronica and dance music in the early 2000s I was almost done with him. But something on every album – maybe just one song – kept me adding the CDs to my collection.
In 2012, Mould changed gears – he downshited back into first gear, and the noise was incredible. The album “Silver Age” rejected the drum machine and brought back the loud and distorted guitar that is the sonorous background noise in my skull. The album was as good as anything Mould had written in his 20s. And his following four albums each exceeded the previous one.
I have played his 2020 album “Blue Hearts” so many times I might wear through the 180-gram vinyl.
So anytime I worry about remaining creative into my late 50s and 60s, I remind myself that it’s possible to still stoke the ashes and find the same fire is burning hot below.
Late last night as I was lying in bed, the topic and structure for my next book came into perfect focus. I scribbled a few words in a notepad on my nightstand. (I think you’ll be happy to hear those words weren’t “chair” or “workbench.”) And I rolled over to sleep like a log.
And today Bob Mould is 62. And that fact brings me great joy.
— Christopher Schwarz