Sammy the Seal

“I’d trade big mountains and rooms full of gold for just one look at the beauty of this woman’s soul”

In music videos, vinyl on Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 at 14:08

Song: The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
Artist: Hüsker Dü
Album: New Day Rising

Listen to Grant Hart howl those lines, then pass judgment on the lyricism. (Yes, the lyrics are mostly unintelligible, it’s at 2:05.) Like, totally, fuck yeah, Grant! Bob who? (Kidding.) I’d first only heard of them because I’d long ago (like when I was in college 1999-2000) acquired an .mp3 of Green Day doing a cover of “Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely”, which is a good song as well, and, surely not coincidentally, is also Grant Hart song. I know everyone remarks about the guitar tone, but it’s too damn cool. They really don’t make ’em like that anymore. Man, this rocks so hard. Look out, Bob’s Flying V is here to buzzsaw you into pieces. Talk about highly charged, highly melodic, melt-your-face-intensity. A glacier-covered mountains might could withstand it, but my face is usually hanging off.

The title might infer that it’s a typical song about a girl, delivered with hardcore fire, but after poking around, it would appear that the song is allegedly about someone Grant knew who was dying of cancer (or something), and turned to alcohol for the pain. Once you know that Heaven Hill is a brand of vodka, the song title becomes metaphorical rather than locational. Not that lyricism should be too influential on quality, but it gives the song a little bump in significance, and it would better explain the wailing and intensity of the song, which seems a bit too abrasive and angry for a simple punk love song. (There’s also less room for conflation and speculation about the girl, Grant Hart being homosexual.)

I love finding videos like this, which is kind of amazing since it was nearly thirty years ago. It’s fun to see underground clubs of the 70s and 80s and to hear of and imagine what glorious shitholes they must’ve been, but then sad to know they’ve long since died. Ah, progress, oh well. Strangely, Grant’s vocals on the studio version sound the most intense, as compared to these two versions, especially the first, though maybe he was just tired. The crowd is much better on the first video, compared to the second.  I mean, standing around?? What the hell, Indianapolis? I’m surprised how much sound is packed into that guitar, Bob looks like he’s hardly working!

“Heaven Hill” starts at 6:17 here:


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