There are things I am going to write about this record that could make you think that I do not like it. That could not be more untrue. I want to start off by saying this is a great record and I absolutely love it; but it's going to suffer some unfair comparisons to Bob Mould's last album, Silver Age. When I heard Silver Age a couple of years ago, it was a revelation. Bob was back.
After a string of lackluster rock albums and a horrible electronica mistake; Bob was embracing his inner Sugar and cranking out a powerful set of top notch pop-rock tunes. It was kind of unexpected as I had figured Bob Mould was just going to be one of those iconic fellows whose best work was behind him. He knocked that theory on its ass and Silver Age was hands down one of my favorite records of 2012.
With Beauty & Ruin, Bob has the unenviable task of trying to follow up that masterpiece. Honestly it's just as good. The only problem is that this time I'm expecting it to be good. While last record was a surprise, this record has a whole heap of expectations slapped onto it. That's a tough weight to bear and he does himself no favors by having the worst song on the record, "Low Season," as the album opener. I was a little nervous after hearing that for the first time. It's just so sluggish and sounds like back album filler to me. Things pick up a bit with "Little Glass Pill," but it's still no where near as good as anything on Silver Age.
Luckily by the time you hit the third track "I Don't Know You Anymore" the album just roars to life. It's fast paced, catchy and has all those great Sugar-esque high spots that you want Bob to hit. The rest of the album cruises along after that with each successive song being as good or better than the previous. It's really a hell of a record that probably could just have used some work in the track sequencing department. While it will be unfairly compared to Silver Age, Beauty & Ruin makes a strong claim as the 2nd best Bob Mould solo record he's put out. If you liked Silver Age, I just can't imagine not liking this one almost as much.
Bob Mould - I Don't Know You Anymore:
Bob Mould - Nemeses Are Laughing: