Your Next Favorite Band: The Replacements

I don’t even know where to start with this one.  The Replacements are like an institution in the pop/punk world.  I want to say something stupid like “they’re as important as The Beatles” or “they’re a bit like Nirvana” but that doesn’t do them justice.  The Replacements started out as a shitty punk band in Minnesota  and became something much more, so much more.  Without The Replacements there would be no fucking Green Day, I’ll tell you that.

So much hair-product, so little time.

Lead singer/song-writer Paul Westerberg is a genius.  You want catchy as hell songs that are also ABOUT something? Then look no further.  His lyrics are literate and biting…and yet also sweet and almost naive at the same time.   They’re tough as hell and soft as a pillow. He’s that special kind of badass that can write about how sad and lonely he is without coming off like a sissy.  For me this is best encapsulated by their song “Unsatisfied.” It’s tough as hell and makes me want to cry it’s so heart-on-their-sleeve the lyrics should be written in blood.

The band evolved from spikey, angry-youngman punk (see the STINK Ep) to more refined power-pop  (PLEASED TO MEET ME).  Whenever a band changes so dramatically it usually means their is a real artist involved, because in my opinion, a true artist is never content to bang out the same crap year after year.  The songs were written 20+ years ago and yet they still seem fresh and relevant.  This is 80’s music that doesn’t seem to be 80’s music.

So if they’re so fucking great, why haven’t you heard of them? Well, they were so punk-rock they had this almost pathologically desire to ruin their careers.  I’ve seen old MTV footage of them cursing and carousing drunkenly on TV, just trying to piss people off.   They basically sabotaged their own careers at almost every turn.  They were young, dumb, addicted to drugs, and didn’t really fit any mold corporate America gave them.  If they’d come out just a few years later they would have been Nirvana, I’m convinced of that.  Really, The Replacements were an unsuccessful Nirvana–in that they refused to play the corporate-shrill game…but the zeitgeist wasn’t with The Replacements like it was with Kurt Cobain & Company.  But I don’t feel too bad for them, success would have just ruined the party.  It’s more fun to be the under-dog anyway, right?

Little did they realize they'd be naming their 1984 release LET IT BE. I'm sure if they knew they'd have dressed up...

There are so many good songs, so many 100% perfect albums from this band, I don’t even know what to recommend you check out.  I guess start with PLEASED TO MEET ME and LET IT BE. Oh yeah, The Replacements had THE TESTICULAR FORTITUDE to name their 1984 album the same as The Beatles final (chronologically released) album.  It would be like if Kanye’s next album was called SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. Holy fuck, I’d like to have been there when the label found out.

There’s a Big Star connection in that, like most ’80s rockers, Paul Westerberg worshiped at the alter of Alex Chilton’s Band.  The Replacements kick so much ass, I haven’t done them any favors in any of this dribble: please just listen to a few songs and buy their albums.  They’re the real deal.

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4 thoughts on “Your Next Favorite Band: The Replacements

  1. I found about the Replacements my senior year in high school in 1999. I heard it on all things, a sports talk radio station ” I will dare”. I instantly went down to the used record shop by my house and bought the album. Your right, they were so invisible and buried by acts like REM ( who they hung out with when they toured in Athens in 1984 and Peter Buck played on that same track). I have bough the bio on them and have their entire catalog on my IPod. Your point about them being timeless is true. They don’t sound like the 80’s at all. Great post.

  2. Jason says:

    Glad you liked the post. The Replacements ticked every box and still found success to be elusive. The band should have been at least as big as REM, oh well. Have you heard Westerberg’s solo stuff? It’s all really good, too.

  3. Kool Breeze says:

    The Replacements were such a rare Rock ‘n’ Roll bird. The more I think about their stuff, the more I realize that when it came to influences, they didn’t give a shit where the Rock came from; if it Rocked, it Rocked — from Alice Cooper and Aerosmith to of course, The Almighty Clash…. but I bet that they had a few copies of the early Van Halen Albums and probably a bunch of other metal albums…

    I would have to say that the “Please To Meet Me” release was a significant chapter in my album collecting life, and in my life overall…..It was perfect timing: it came out a handful of months before my first summer on my own, free in “the world” in an apartment between sophomore and junior years of college (many, I’m sure, will agree, this is a sacred time….). That album was sort of a Rallying Call. ( I really shouldn’t qualify that statement with “sort of…” , just listen to “I.O.U”, it’s the absolute definition of a Rallying Call…)

    I only caught them once in support of the “Don’t Tell A Soul” album [a gorgeous tragedy of the collision of their untamed talent and corporate dictates, but that’s another story….] The concert was….well, kind of a let down…but I know we celebrated after that show, celebrated just for the intangible victory that The Replacements represented, if that make any sense… and I’m still glad I was there…

    Thanks so much for posting that “Can’t Hardly Wait” demo… I felt like it somehow captures all their best points in a special way…. and I must add for those that are curious, “Please To Meet Me” may just be your own personal Rock ‘n’ Roll Holy Grail, no fooling!

    • Kool, first off–thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I think it actually means more to me that you like The Replacements than it does you found my blog!

      I agree, the band is a total hybrid of influences everything from KISS to Big Star seem to color their music. Seeing them live must have been a pretty important moment in your concert-going-experience (regardless of their performance) and I’m pretty jealous of you for having seen them.

      “Don’t Tell A Soul” is their so-called “sell out” record, but I still think it’s more worthy than 85% of what most other bands of the period were cranking out. It’s funny, but as I think about it, as “timeless” a rock sound as The Replacements have…their most commercial album is the one that sounds the most like an ’80s record.

      Thanks again for the comment and hope you keep reading.

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