Detail of a mosaic ceiling decoration in the Belorusskaya metro station in Russia, 1952
Grant Hart's career since the break-up of Husker Du has been a series of comebacks and dropping-off-the-map-agains. Arguably, his most successful comeback has been his 1999 solo album Good News for Modern Man, which features some of his best songwriting and has a great "pop" sound that stands in stark contrast to the (some would say) odd production choices on the Husker Du records. When I say it was "successful", I mean creatively - I think it didn't do very well commercially. I've heard that it sank Pachyderm Records, the label that put it out. If you want to hear Hart aping Bob Dylan, 1989's Intolerance is still your go-to, but Good News for Modern Man is where you can hear Hart going all-out pop.
One of the album's most tuneful songs is its Brian Wilson tribute "Run Run Run to the Centre Pompidou" - the intro and verse is all Grant Hart, reminiscent of earlier compositions like "Books About UFOs", but on the chorus, you get a chorus of Grants chiming in with sunny "ooooh-bop-bop" harmonies. The song also features a decent surf-guitar solo, and travelogue lyrics about wandering around Paris that bring to mind Beach Boys songs like "Amusement Parks U.S.A.", "California Girls", or even *gulp* "Kokomo". It's a lovely song, and got me thinking about how Hart is a little like post-Beach-Boys Brian Wilson - drug use has taken its toll on him but, when he gets his crap together and puts out a record, you can still hear the songwriting spark that makes him special.
"Run Run Run to the Centre Pompidou" by Grant Hart