As founder and half of the songwriting engine that drove the mighty Hüsker Dü to his maverick solo work, Grant Hart has cut a singular path across the last three decades of music. It is with great confidence that we say he has made an album to rival his greatest achievements. A double album based on John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost, Hart distills its essence into pop and rock concoctions that nimbly flit through the history of 20th century music from Irving Berlin and David Bowie to… Hüsker Dü, even. Ambition is the topic and Hell is the location for this project that is ambitious as Hell. Does he pull it off? We say yes!
While visiting James Grauerholz, former friend and secretary for William S. Burroughs, James showed Grant an unpublished manuscript for Lost Paradise, William’s science fiction story which portrays the fallen angels as men from distant planets and God as none other than fellow Missourian Harry S. Truman. James and Grant discussed adding music to William’s story much in the same way that Tom Waits and William conspired to turn the German folk tale Die Freishutz into The Black Rider as staged by Robert Wilson.
From that point the seed had been planted, and the seed grew into the most beautiful tree in the garden of Grant’s career. Domino invite you to taste the fruit of this tree. Go ahead, taste it.
Although lines from the poem are rarely quoted directly, all of the menace, pain and devotion of Milton’s best loved work are here found. But where Milton’s poem was “unadorned by rhyme,” The Argument contain many complex couplets, especially the title track, in which not only the ends of lines rhyme, but the word that ends a phrase is the same as the first line of the phrase after it, all while conforming to the original ten syllable structure devised by Milton. Anyone who has ever had a conversation with Grant knows how patiently he chooses the words he uses.
As a double album of two halves, we wanted to show both the light and the dark of the album in its initial introduction, so we are offering two tracks for preview. “Is the Sky the Limit?” is a melancholy song of the aftermath of rejection built upon the eerie and lonely sound of Sputnik 1. To counterbalance this somber paean, “Letting Me Out” follows in all its propulsive Buddy Holly glory as the Artist formerly known as Lucifer offers up his cunning business proposition to populate the netherworld.
Both can be heard here:
The Argument will be available on CD (WIGCD318), double vinyl (WIGLP318) and digitally (WIGDG318). And without further ado… the tracklist:
Out Of Chaos
If We Have The Will
I Will Never See My Home
I Am Death
Letting Me Out
Is The Sky The Limit?
So Far From Heaven
Shine, Shine, Shine
It Isn’t Love
War In Heaven
(It Was A) Most Disturbing Dream
Underneath The Apple Tree
Run For The Wilderness
For Those Too High Aspiring