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The Stories Behind The Songs: Sugar – Hoover Dam

A song that came into Bob Mould’s head “as I was waking up one morning”, and a long way from the suicide song that many critics perceived it to be, it’s among the former Hüsker Dü man’s best.

A mighty waterfall of Beatle-ish melodies and grunge dynamics, Bob Mould’s finest power-pop anthem arrived out of a clear blue sky, plopping into the former Hüsker Dü frontman’s mental inbox on some jingle-jangle morning in the summer of 1991.

“It was this dream song that just turned up as I was waking up one morning,” Mould recalls. “It came to me fully formed, and then it’s just all the baubles that make it that crazy baroque band thing. All that was pretty much in my head too, but you have to sit down and make these baubles shine. That’s the production stuff.”

Named after the architecturally stunning structure that towers over the Colorado River on the border between Arizona and Nevada, Hoover Dam was written just as Mould’s career was in free fall. Hüsker Dü, the groundbreaking alternative rock band he’d co-founded in Minneapolis at the end of the 70s, had acrimoniously split in 1987. Laid low by bad business decisions and poor sales for his 1990 solo album Black Sheets Of Rain, Mould fired his manager, accountants and attorney in early 1991. In March he and his then-partner Kevin O’Neill relocated from downtown Manhattan to a massive loft in run-down Williamsburg. Hoover Dam came together in that apartment. 

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