ZEN ARCADE is one of the most sprawlingly ambitious albums of the 1980s, and its highs ("Chartered Trips", "Indecision Time", everything from "Somewhere" through "Whatever") are the high points of Husker Du's career. BUT, as a start-to-finish record I prefer NEW DAY RISING, a near-perfect melding of punk and pop.
I'd have to give the edge to "Zen Arcade." I prefer it because I find it more diverse, and despite its length, it holds my attention more from start to finish. A few of the songs on "New Day Rising" get a little samey for me. Although you can't really go wrong with either album. I may be in the minority on this one, but I actually like "Candy Apple Grey" slightly more than "New Day Rising."