The Replacements

Sire Records, 1985

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


One certain rule that I have is don't take yourself or what you say too seriously, because in three years, you may be laughing your ass off. Case in point with my 21st birthday about 3 years ago next week. Statement 1:"HA HA! Radiohead, what a joke, I'll see them playing at the State Fair in a couple of years. Their albums probably in the discount bins at K-mart." Statement 2:"Oh geez, after I turn 21, I'll probably drink less and I'll never go to the bars on weeknights." Statement 3:"Yeah, but beer is different. Not like hard liquor. You can buy a cheap $8 bottle of vodka and it tastes the same as the expensive shit."

Along with those three statements, other changes have occured. I no longer slam every shot I get at a bar, I rather sit back and sip. I'm looking more foreward to my 25th birthday, when my insurance rates plummet. And I called those people who broke their ankles while trying to hang from a tree after we won a share of the National Championship a bunch of immature novices.

That's age settling in. It's doing it fast. And right now, no album makes this more apparant than The Replacements's 1985 masterpiece, Tim. When Let It Be hit my walkman, I was captivated. Here's a band that flaunted their stupidity, their recklessness and their ability to be the hardest drinking band in the business. "Gary's Got a Boner", "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out" and "My Favorite Thing" were all bursts of energy that epitomized youth. Paul Westerberg would surprise us with some beautiful moments of reflection, but Bob Stinson and Tommy Stinson were always there to shake up the party.

With critics hailing the album and getting signed to a major label, The Replacements underwent an inevitable change. Responsibility crept up. Guitarist Bob Stinson couldn't handle the new burdens and walked out shortly after my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Tim was released. They could no longer go down to the studio, fuck around, and put out material like they did on Twin\Tone. That didn't mean that their reputation had to suffer, however.

On "Dose of Thunder," one of the most electric songs the Replacements ever put on record, the Stinson brothers gave a heavy metal blast that even Westerberg couldn't resist. Going down to the pool, starting shit with someone and drinking cheap beer. A stupid mix but a fun one watching from a distance.

Much of the rest of Tim put a more somber mood on things. "Hold My Life" and "Swinging Party" are both accounts of people who are starting to realize they have pissed their twenties away from partying and one too many personal failures.

On "Bastards of Young," Westerberg laments like a bitter, cranky factory worker. "Income tax deduction / one helluva function / well it beats picking cotton and waiting to be forgotten." It gets worse for Westerberg as he laments, "Ones love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest / the ones that love us least / are the ones we'll die to please / if it's any consolation /I don't begin to understand it." That song alone usually results in a phone call to my sister or my mother or a real annoying friend who I can't be with for too long, yet he would walk on glass barefoot for me.

Leave it to Westerberg to write a song about independent radio (college radio) that can bring you to tears. With a brilliant play of words, "Playing makeup, wearing guitar / growing old in a bar / you grow old in a bar," it shows how intimacy can be attained from a radio when few people are left to cheer you on.

Tim closes with the beautiful, "Here Comes A Regular." Seeming to choke the last lyrics, "A fool who wastes his life, God rest his guts," Westerberg concludes how partying your life away leads to a bunch of has-beens, cuddled up on the bar with a couple of diamond-shaped napkins holding rum and cokes.

Between all of these songs, the band does such a great job playing that pinning down any specific talent is a waste of time. None of the band members will be known to grace the cover of the latest Drummer or Guitar monthly. They were just a great bunch of musicians who clicked. If anyone is old enough to have seen them live, you know they were either the greatest performers in a bar or a pathetic example of why musicians shouldn't be too hammered before they get on the stage.

With Tim, The Replacements were still able to be both. Still underground, they had the freedom to fuck up on record or live because it was a given that something great would come out later on. After signing with Sire, that greatness became more of demand for the band. A great band who were known to perform drunk and naked now were expected to do videos and perform a stellar live show. Whether or not that broke the band is anyone's guess. But Tim leaves us with a great moment of the passing of youth. Too old to be sniffing glue, but still young enough to say "Kiss me on the bus," your mid-twenties never sounded so sweet.

Rating: A

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© 1998 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.