December 31, 2014

The Replacements - Tim (1985)

Paul Westerburg, the lead singer and guitarist for The Replacements, was born 55 years ago today. He got himself into the group, then called 'The Impediments' by convincing the current lead singer that the rest of the band wanted to fire him, and they soon changed their name to The Replacements.

The Replacements never found much commercial success, despite their talent and the major label release of Tim on Sire. This album is towards the middle of their career, and it's the middle of a trifecta of great albums, beginning with Let it Be, and ending with Pleased to Meet Me. This is by far my favorite, not really due to quality, but due to the tone of the album- dark but airy power pop. The melodies aren't incredibly complex, and often are very repetitive, in a comfortable lulling manner. It's softer than their other two albums overall, with gentle vocals and subdued strumming on many songs such as Swingin' Party or the emotional closing track, Here Comes a Regular. Other songs take the more typical Replacements sound, such as Little Mascara or Bastards of Young. Despite this variety in musical tone, the songs fit perfectly in this album, linked by the mood.

Every song on the album can stand alone, and the dark depth of the songwriting is excellent, covering topics from drug addiction in Swingin Party to alcoholics in a bar in Here Comes a Regular to a doomed relationship in Little Mascara. If you want a dark but poppy rock album, look no farther.