The Replacements - the little band that couldn't - may have been the last of the rock 'n' roll true believers. They didn't hide behind layers of smug irony, nor did they limit their bleary-eyed ambition to the safe havens of indie cool that have sprung up in the internet age. They overtly aimed for greatness even while self-handicapped by a crippling distrust of success - a dichotomy that ensured they exist in a frustrating no-win bubble that could never be broken. But, man, did they ever try to break it.
If you were lucky enough to witness them live, good night or bad night (because either held its own kind of glory), then you know their greatness was realized beyond debate. If you're a latecomer, then you'll just have to take us old folks' word for it as you ponder the recorded evidence. The Replacements albums have all been reissued and remastered with bonus tracks, and they're all worth checking out (particularly Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased To Meet Me). Today's exercise, however, is to compile some of the post-Mats projects.
Once the Replacements crashed and burned, it wasn't surprising that leader/main songwriter Paul Westerberg continued his path of iconoclastic brilliance, whether under his own name or the Grandpaboy moniker. More unexpected was how Bassist Tommy Stinson went on to prove himself an incredibly strong songwriter, first in the excellent Bash & Pop, then in the short-lived Perfect, and more recently under his own name. Drummer Chris Mars managed to put out four albums of decreasing charm before ditching music altogether. And Bob Stinson was predictably rudderless without the controlling hand of Westerberg, but his energetic work in Static Taxi only proved the tragedy in his passing. Bob's replacement Replacement, Slim Dunlap, released two fine records that almost sound like lost Keith Richards solo joints. As a bonus, this mix ends with the '06 reunion of the band that was recorded for the Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? best-of.
It's arguable that no other band has sired so many worthwhile splinter groups. The Beatles, of course, turned into three and a half awesome solo careers - but after that, I'd be interested to hear any other suggestions that rival the Replacements. I know they have to be out there, I just can't think of them.
Let's Not Belong
1. Paul Westerberg Knockin' On Mine
2. Paul Westerberg Ain't Got Me
3. Bash & Pop Never Aim To Please
4. Bash & Pop Loose Ends
5. Chris Mars Reverse Status
6. Chris Mars Popular Creeps
7. Grandpaboy Hot Un
8. Grandpaboy Psychopharmacology
9. Slim Dunlap Partners In Crime
10. Slim Dunlap Cozy
11. Slim Dunlap Cooler Then
12. Perfect Making Of An Asshole
13. Perfect Don't Look Down
14. Static Taxi Max Factor
15. Grandpaboy Let's Not Belong Together
16. Paul Westerberg Gun Shy
17. Paul Westerberg Looking Up In Heaven
18. Tommy Stinson Hey You
19. Slim Dunlap Nowheres Near
20. The Replacements Message To The Boys
Track 1 from 14 Songs (1993)
Track 2 from Eventually (1996)
Tracks 3, 4 from Friday Night Is Killing Me (1993)
Tracks 5, 6 from Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (1992)
Tracks 7, 8 from Grandpaboy (1997)
Track 9 from The Old New Me (1993)
Tracks 10, 11, 19 from Times Like This (1996)
Tracks 12 from Once, Twice, Three Times A Maybe (2004)
Track 13 from Seven Days A Week (1997)
Track 14 from Closer 2 Normal (1989)
Track 15 from Mono/Stereo (2002)
Track 16, 17 from Folker (2004)
Track 18 from Village Gorilla Head (2004)
Track 20 from Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? (2006)
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