As I write this blog entry, I know only one definite item: my mom is dying. Unfortunately, I lost Mom to Alzheimer’s a couple of years ago, but her body now is not supporting her, and I, as her Power of Attorney, had some decisions to make. First off, I am a Medical Technologist who specialized in Microbiology and Hematology, which was my first profession before becoming a high school chemistry teacher. So, I am a pragmatic person.
After finally getting my own health issues under control over the weekend, I went to the nursing home for a fact finding mission and to quickly observe my mother. After talking with everyone and seeing Mom, I knew what I had to do. First, I text my brother in California to call me ASAP. Then, I went into my music room looking for comfort. So, I pulled out the mid-Eighties compilation by The Cure, Staring at the Sea. As I laid in my recliner, I simply let Robert Smith’s brilliant music wash over me, without ever turning on the light in my little sanctuary. Oddly, the whole experience was cathartic.
Next, my brother called. I gave him the lowdown on Mom, and what I wanted to do, which was to quit testing Mom for things that were not going to be treated. We cried, and consoled each other, then something was said, and we belly-laughed as only brothers can do. The bottom line is that he agreed with my assessment: it was time simply to keep Mom’s body comfortable until she is ready to leave this world.
Now, that I was comfortable with that decision, the next intervention in my life showed up when our mail carrier delivered the latest album Bob Mould, Sunshine Rock. Not sure if this is a moment of the ‘Right Album at the Right Time for me,’ but Bob has given us a musical gift here in 2019. From the moment of the title song kicks off the album until the album closes, I was transported to all stages of my life.
Sunshine Rock plays as if this were his greatest hits compilation, yet all of the songs are new! There’s old Hüsker Dü buzzsaw noise pop (“What Do You Want Me to Do”), B0b Mould solo rock (“Sin King”) and Sugar-esque power pop, with the emphasis on power (“Lost Faith”, “Thirty Dozen Roses”). Yet, this is much more. Permeating from the lyrics is a sense of happiness, confidence, dare I say optimism, that is not usually associated with Mr. Mould. Still, lyrically and musically he is looking all around his world and seems to finally be at ease with his lot in life. And, that contentment is what makes Sunshine Rock Mould’s masterpiece. As he sings in “Camp Sunshine,” he tells us to “We can’t predict the future…just enjoy the moments we have.” I am not going to speculate as to why Mould would say such a thing, yet I am left wondering if he has lost someone significant in his life, since I find myself relating to those lyrics.
This glorious album ends the same way it begins: on a positive high! I have not had a deep emotional response to an album of new music since I was in my twenties, but, by golly, Bob Mould has done it on Sunshine Rock. I can feel my 55-year-old body wanting to get up to dance, pogo style at times, rougher at others. This is the greatest adult album I have ever heard. And, it’s one that I can place rightfully next to London Calling or Born to Run without the embarrassment of trying to justify it’s status. Bob Mould has truly given us a gift that needs to be shared with the world.
Bob Mould’s Sunshine Rock is an album for the ages!