Break ‘Em Out: The Replacements – Let It Be

Is timeless the proper word?

I’ve been preparing a long time to write about this album, and I really wanted to get it right.  I really wanted to talk about this band’s importance to the 80s alternative rock scene (they were pretty much the Nirvana of the 80s).  I really wanted to convey the idea of Paul Westerberg’s growing maturity as a songwriter and how he created a near flawless pop record without it sounding anything like pop.  I would like whoever is reading this to understand what a beautifully messed up album this is and how every teenager needs to listen to this.

But I can’t.

This album is wonderful in a way that I can’t describe in a summary – go to Rolling Stone or Pitchfork if you want that.  All I can tell you is that this record is like The Breakfast Club to me.  It is a look at being a teenager in all it’s tragedy and glory.  All the promise, all the disappointments, all the fears, everything.

Every track on this album is great, and some are even incredible.  “I Will Dare”, “Sixteen Blue”, and “Unsatisfied” are some of the band’s best songs, and “Androgynous” is one of the most unique, and beautiful, punk ballads ever created.  The album’s greatest moment is its ending with “Answering Machine”, a song that could relate to us more now, with text messaging and Facebook, than it did in the 80s (“How do you say I miss you to an answering machine?”).

Truthfully you might not even like this record. You might think it’s sloppy, unorganized, and has too much filler. Even if all the above is true – and it probably is – this is a record you need to listen to.  Go out and get it now.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

2 Comments

  1. Great blog Brady! My roommate in DC turned me on to the Replacements with Let It Be in the mid-80s. Androgynous is a masterwork. I need to find that CD! I see you like the Decemberists, then here’s my tip for you… Guy Clark. You’ll want the whole catalog but start with Dublin Blues. Brilliant songs from the heart of a songwriter of immense influence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *