Music, Marriage, and Compromise

Hüsker Dü, a band we both love.

“Candy Apple Grey, is our home’s name,” I announced at dinner the other night. We named our dining room table, Alex Chilton, so we needed to name our house, too. The front door is candy apple red, the house will be gray as soon as it’s warm enough to paint, and “Candy Apple Grey” is one of our favorite records. I know many families discuss their day’s high (and low) points and what they’re grateful for, etc., but my mind doesn’t work that way. We talk about music a lot and new ideas for projects that came to mind that day.

Hüsker Dü and I go way back. I spent a lot of time hanging out at their all-ages shows at First Ave when I was in high school. I wasn’t exactly what you’d call popular with musical taste like that. So when I met my future husband and learned he loved their music too, how could I say no? (Cue “Could you be the one?”) Hüsker Dü is one about half a dozen bands that we both love. It’s a shared spectrum of music — the bands we both love, the bands I love and he kind of likes (and vice versa) and the dreaded few that one of us hates and the other loves or at least likes. That’s why, I explained to the kids, that relationships are built on shared passions and a lot of compromise. I don’t make him listen to Dessa and Adele and he doesn’t play Al Stewart and Elton John when I’m around.

My teen years were tough, so the über depressing punk music of Hüsker Dü (and new wave old Cure) let me know I was not alone in how I felt.


“Hüsker Dü was a punk band?” our eldest asked?

“Yes,” I answered, “Until they morphed into power pop and that Bob’s songs were better.”

Thus we felt the need to explain to our adult child the profound difference between Bob Mould’s songs vs. Grant Hart’s. Until my better half mentioned that Grant wrote “Sorry Somehow.” And I didn’t believe him until found my cheaters and read the liner notes. That, I explained to my son, was what marriage is all about. Not “Trust but verify” but caring enough about one another to debate and find joy in common interests, and admit when you’re wrong.

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