Friday, November 29, 2013

The Replacements - Tim

The Replacements – Tim
Sire, 1985
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $4
It’s hard to remember that I spent the last year and a half living in Minneapolis. As a younger man, Minneapolis was this mythical sort of place: An unearthed gem of the Midwest with a secret power. Somehow, this seemingly barren tundra had produced Prince, the Replacements, Husker Du, Dillinger Four, and a slew of other bands I loved and respected. We went to see Guided by Voices at First Avenue in the fall of 2010 and I was sold. A year and a half later we moved and it was absolutely necessary. Even though we moved back, living somewhere outside of Kansas was immensely important to my wellbeing. It’s strange how quickly it has become this displaced part of my life, because I had a great time in the Twin Cities. KC is fine, but it’s not as connected. Even though I hated our apartment (mostly due to our shitty neighbors on all but one front in our fourplex) our location in South Minneapolis was close to EVERYTHING. Never have I eaten better in my life (assuming better means stuffing my face with the best bar food you’re likely to find anywhere. Jucy Lucy’s > All Burgers Ever) and never have I tasted finer local brews. Indeed and Surly are sorely missed. Putting on Tim three months after leaving Minneapolis is bringing up a backwash of weird nostalgia. When Jenny worked at the Wedge, I used to bike up there and go grocery shopping. I’d hop off the Midtown Greenway at Bryant because riding on Lyndale was an absolute deathwish (it must be known, Minneapolis has the absolute worst, most obscenely atrocious drivers I have ever encountered. The people are largely rude too, but most of that can be attributed to typical Scandinavian standoffishness and while I met some real fucking shitheads, I met plenty of exceedingly fine and gracious folks). I didn’t know it, but every time I rode up Bryant to the Wedge I was riding past the Stinson house from the Let it Be cover. I loved how Minneapolis worshipped its musical heritage, and that I could drive in any direction and come across something referenced in Hold Steady/Lifter Puller song. Minneapolis is great because people have it good and they love their city. People thought I was insane for moving there, and I tried to constantly let them know how good they had it. Jucy Lucys and musical heritage and a hundred new microbreweries are not things one should take for granted.

Tim is effectively the Replacements’ high water mark, if only because it is smack dab in the middle of a discography with a distinct rise and a distinct decline. Its predecessor, Let it Be, has all the raw energy that made them lovable and its follow up, Pleased to Meet Me, highlighted how well the once grimy and ramshackle Replacements could clean up and make an album that was both shooting for the mainstream while simultaneously spitting on the ideals of mainstream music in general. While both of those albums are great and have some of the most amazing songs I’ve ever heard, Tim just has more hits. “Bastards of Young,” “Left of the Dial,” “Kiss Me on the Bus,” “Here Comes a Regular,” “Hold My Life.” Forget it, “Bastards of Young” on its own would be enough to tout this as the Replacements most complete album. That song, every time, every single time. You know what I mean? When a song so thoroughly gets it and turns you into a puddle every single time no matter how many times you’ve played it in the car in the headphones or on the stereo at top volume. Never was a band so successful at not giving a fuck about what anyone thought. No matter how uneven their albums were, they were great albums because the disjointed vision was precisely what made the Replacements so much fun. The lore of their shows going from mindbogglingly great to embarrassingly bad (often in the span of an hour) is all part of their grab bag aesthetic. Here is your Book of Genesis for grunge and alt-country and any modern genre you care about. Of course, you already love this album and I’m preaching to the choir, but give it another spin anyway because you’d have to try pretty goddamn hard to wear this record out.

"Bastards of Young"

"Here Comes a Regular"

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