Tuesday, January 13, 2009

38 Greatest Albums: The Replacements - 'Let It Be'

I have written at great length about The Replacements on this blog. I will continue to do so. I write about them in my head ALL THE TIME. I never thought of this list as being numerically accurate and this album proves it. Because if there was one album I had to have on that deserted island everyone is hoping to be banished to it would be this. It is my favorite album of all time, bar none. It may say 38 in front of the post but this is the 1.

I've written about the context in which I first heard this album on my sister's blog.


I've written about seeing The Replacements in concert.

1. I Will Dare

I've written about seeing Westerberg solo and almost turning my back on him.

2. Favorite Thing

I've written about the flip side of that almost treason and how his solo work has become just as important to me.

3. We're Comin' Out

So what am I going to write today?

I'm not. You are going to write this review. To do this, you are going to travel back in time to a night in your life when everything came together. You are probably a teenager, but closer to 20 than 12. You've probably also just realized that you aren't immortal and that realization has led you to embrace absurdity and intoxication.

4. Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out

On the night in question you go to a party somewhere with some people you just met. The unfamiliar nature of these people leaves the night with a quality of danger, as if everything could go wrong at any moment. You still live at home and you've lied to your parents about where you are so if anything does go wrong you are on your own.

5. Androgynous

The party is over crowded and over loud. Feeling untethered doesn't impede your confidence, it merely spurs over-compensation. You are broader than usual, funnier than usual, drunker than usual, angrier than usual, more entertaining than usual, more dangerous than usual, more everything.

6. Black Diamond

Your extremity attracts someone at the party and before you can drop your act and admit that you are young and far from home you are in a dark room doing things you've never done before, or at least doing them in different ways. Still in the dark, things start to go a bit haywire and the tenuous connection you have with this stranger starts to seem ominous and oppressive, not youthful and free.


You extricate yourself with a little bit of drama.


The party hasn't noticed but you approach it all differently now. After all, you've just been through the death of a romance.

1. Unsatisfied

Your absence was not noted by your new acquaintances and this leaves you feeling like a balloon without a string. Why don't you just float on out of here? You do. The streets are dark and shiny from the rain and your breath is visible. You only know that your childhood home is east of here. You begin to walk.

2. Seen Your Video

Cellphones do not exist yet.

3. Gary's Got A Boner

After an hour of wandering, things start to look vaguely familiar, residential/business giving way to business/residential. Your buzz is wearing off and the combination of the cold and the cigarettes is edifying. Fuck that whole scene. You won't be hanging out with those morons anymore. And what the hell was up with that slut in the bedroom? Lucky you cut that shit off when you did or you might have woken up with more than just a hangover tomorrow.

4. Sixteen Blue

Quarter for a cup of coffee. Why do you feel so much older than you are? Aren't you supposed to be a teenager? Why are you huddling against the cold and feeling the weight of the world? Why couldn't you Star Trek right back into your bed?

5. Answering Machine

You throw a rock at a sign and hit a parked car.

It hurts to run but you don't feel quite safely far enough away from the scene of the crime. How dumb was that. What is your deal? You just don't give a fuck about a shit or a shit about a fuck. Fuck a luck a duck.

Should have gotten that other girls number, not the slut. Maybe next time. Almost home. Fuck home...quarter for another cup. Wait for your real friends to wake up and save you from this nightmare. Which was actually fun. So what the fuck do you know?

Let it be.

If it was good enough for The Beatles, it's good enough for you.


Anonymous said...

Huh. The moment I realized I wasn't immortal I, yes, embraced absurdity more, but turned my back on intoxication.

But yeah, this is a great fucking album. I'll never understand why they felt the need to cover Black DIamond, tho...

--- Tom H.

Brendan O'Malley said...

Come on! That's the point! They don't care what you think, or I think, or what. For some reason, they must have LOVED playing that song. The sheer incongruity of it is what makes it the crown jewel (ahem, diamond) in this bizarre tiara!