Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Replacements Let It Be & Show # 458

In September 1984, The Replacements released their third full length album entitled Let It Be. The album's title is a reference to the album of the same name by The Beatles, however Paul Westerberg has been quoted numerous times about the title's origins and meaning saying that it "was our way of saying that nothing is sacred, that the Beatles were just a damn fine rock & roll band. We seriously were gonna call the next record Let It Bleed." This is no surprise given this Minneapolis bands previous history. Prior to this album's release, The Replacements earlier sound was very fast and Punk oriented. Let It Be built on the sounds that the band first experimented with on 1983’s Hootenanny, an album in which they played other styles of music breaking from the Punk mould that they had been associated with. This album took that differing of styles to another level.

Let It Be opens with the song “I Will Dare”, a Pop song that was originally written by Westerberg on an acoustic guitar, one of the first that was written this way. On this track Westerberg plays a 12 string electric guitar and Mandolin, while R.E.M’s Peter Buck provides the guitar solo, the rest of the band plays along with a certain intensity. With lyrics such as “Ain’t lost yet/So I gotta be a winner” which captures a certain Midwestern angst and a chorus that states “Meet me anyplace or anywhere or anytime/Now, I don’t care/Meet me tonight/If you will dare/I will dare” these lyrics are not only relevant in the context of this album's content, but also Westerberg’s intentions as a songwriter. “Favorite Thing” follows next which sounds like a more up tempo song as Westerberg rants in a Joe Strummer style with lyrics such as “I don’t give a single shit”, this displays the bands Punk attitude, which is still found on this song and through out this album. “We’re Coming Out” starts off with a breakneck Hardcore Punk-like speed and also features a Jazz breakdown, it is followed up by the Punk/Proto Punk “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out".  Lyrically the song references an actual incident with Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, while it also portrays the band's sense of humour as throughout the song we learn of a doctor that is more interested in his tee times than doing his job.

Alternate front cover photo for Let It Be
“Androgynous” comes in at the opposite end of the musical spectrum following “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” it is a slow Jazz influenced song, featuring only Westerberg on Piano/Sand blocks and vocals. Lyrically the song is a character study seemingly with lyrics such as “Now, something meets Boy, and something meets Girl”, and “He might be a father, but he sure ain't a dad”, this song proves that Paul Westerberg’s song writing capabilities can be as diverse as going from Punk to Jazz, achieving the same response regardless of genre. “Unsatisfied” is a haunting Folk/Pop-like rant, an anthem for disaffected youth with lyrics such as "Look me in the eye and then tell me/That I'm satisfied/Are you satisfied?...I'm so, I'm so unsatisfied” and “All of the time/Everything you dream of/Is right in front of you/And everything is a lie” Westerberg hits a nerve that taps into the social sub consciousness. Other tracks on this album worth noting are the Hard Rock “Gary’s Got A Boner”, “Sixteen Blue” which features what many fans believe the best guitar solo Bob Stinson had ever recorded and the bitter love song “Answering Machine”, which ends the album.

Overall, Let It Be showcased not only Paul Westerberg’s song writing abilities, which were developing into something other than fast Punk songs. The Replacements as a band and their chemistry is also evident on Let It Be. Bob Mould of Husker Du, another Minneapolis band from that time described The Replacements live shows in The Replacements: All Over But The Shouting: An Oral History by Jim Walsh as this “If you see ten Replacements shows, one of them you’re going to think they’re the greatest that ever walked the face of the earth, and the other nine might degenerate into drunken covers.” That quote is relevant when describing this album. Let It Be has the greatest moments, but also the drunken degenerate ones. From the songs to the now iconic photograph that was taken on the roof of Bob and Tommy Stinson’s mother’s house for the albums front cover, Let It Be captured something that was hard to define, it had something that until this point in 1984 other Replacements albums did not.

This Week's Play List:

1. Human Eye – Alligator Dance
2. Young Benjamins – Less Argue
3. Daniel Romano – He Lets Her Memory Go (Wild)
4. Talking Heads – Psycho Killer (1975 CBS Demo)
5. The Rapture – Caravan
6. Charles De Goal – Synchro
7. Sheep Look Up - Burning
8. Thrush Hermit – French Inhale
9. Syzslak – Turquoise
10. Cold Warps – Hole In My Head
11. The Vondells – Go Go Gone
12. The Vondells – 2 Tone Blue
13. The Zeros – Beat Your Heart Out
14. The Basements – I Don’t Want you No More
15. Raised By Weeds – Here’s A Story
16. The Replacements – I Will Dare
17. The Replacements - Favorite Thing
18. The Replacements – Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
19. The Replacements – Unsatisfied
20. The D4 – Invader Ace
21. Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin – Reverse Shark Attack

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 28. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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