Monday, January 12, 2009

TVD Weekly Wax | The Replacements

I get choked up watching award ceremonies, I confess. Seeing surprised award winners wending their way to the podium, gathering their composure, mashing a few coherent words together, struggling with syntax, and wrangling with recalling just who made their singular achievements possible moves me for some reason. I'm not sure why this is, but it is.

The actress from 'Happy Go Lucky' just won her Golden Globe trophy. I've not seen this movie nor heard of this actress prior, but I'm welling up in a weird, wine-infused way.

To the contrary, I was appalled at the reviews for Animal Collective's 'Merriwether Post Pavilion' last week. I mean, Pitchfork gave it a 9.6. (Cue Seth and Amy: "Really? ..REALLY...!?") As attributed to John Lennon or Elvis Costello, it's on par with "dancing about architecture."

On the positive side, I dig the production and the use of natural, found sounds. Conversely you can neither hum along, sing along, nor dance to any of this. It's neither evocative nor provocative and bereft of any SOUL, man. Sure, it's a fine producer's exercise and one needn't HAVE to sing along with art, but you should be left with something--ANYthing.

If Pitchfork didn't have a need to suck the cock of, and create indie 'stars' to feather their nests, perhaps they'd give this release what it really deserves, ohh saaay: a 5.6? (6.6?)

Back when I first heard the tracks from newish bands such as Yaz(oo), Soft Cell, or Depeche Mode, somehow innately I seemed to 'get' that these were tiny lil' symphonies composed with the tools at hand, modest as they may be. The arrangements and instrumentation may have been spare, but the SONG was right there. Up front and intoxicating. That an Alison Moyet, or a Marc Almond, or even a Dave Gahan (or Martin Gore) would lend their singular brand of soulfulness to the vocal proceedings infused the cold and spare with LIFE. This stuff breathed despite their seemingly simple origins.

Yet, just like actual Merriwether Post Pavilion, the bland out of the way amphitheatre in the suburbs of Maryland, 'Merriwether Post Pavilion' is remote, difficult to find parking, and even harder to fathom once the proceedings are over--despite the OVER abundance of modern machinery and computerized catch-all conveniences. (See last week's rant.)

As the Manics sing, 'If you tolerate this/then your children will be next..."

Think I'm nuts? 99% of hip hop is predicated on those thin, tinny beats and along the likes of Yaz, Soft Cell, and Depeche Mode that were decried by 'purists' as you might accuse me of being after this bit 'o ranting. For me, it's laughable to see those thin, new-wavey beats become the backbone of an entire thugged-up genre. ("Really? ..REALLY...?")

Which brings me to The Replacements. "We are an audience of individuals," Steven Spielberg just said in his acceptance speech tonight at the Globes ceremony, and despite being young, punk, and drunk The 'Mats, and primarily Paul Westerberg, got that intrinsically. And we're individuals who don't want to dance to architecture but find love, solace, and compassion in a SONG to which we can sing along, dance along, drink along.

Trouser Press takes stock: "For a time the world's best rock'n'roll band ... Minneapolis' Replacements began as juvenile punks whose give-a-shit attitude masked the seeds of singer/guitarist/songwriter Paul Westerberg's self-destructive genius for injecting sensitivity into flat-out chaos. When it all clicked — volume, rawness, speed (velocity and ingested substances), energy and passion — the Mats (short for Placemats) teetered drunkenly at the brink of the abyss and recklessly cracked jokes about it. Onstage and on vinyl, nothing could compare with their unpredictable excitement."

In their simplicity and their recklessness there were real, honest, SONGS right from the get-go on their very first 7". Novel, huh?


The Replacements - If Only You Were Lonely (Mp3)
The Replacements - Customer (Mp3)
The Replacements - Somethin To Du (Mp3)
The Replacements - Kids Don't Follow (Mp3)
The Replacements - Go (Mp3)

6 comments:

Stax said...

My absolute all-time favorite rock band, bar none. The definition of beautiful losers. Yay for the underdog! Now, please explain to me why Tommy Stinson has been whiling a way his time slumming with Axl Rose. It makes me chuckle every time I think about it.

JON said...

...a paycheck?

Stax said...

blood money

MUKISA / retrospect. said...

"If Pitchfork didn't have a need to suck the cock of, and create indie 'stars' to feather their nests, perhaps they'd give this release what it really deserves, ohh saaay: a 5.6? (6.6?)" ---

Back when I first heard the tracks from newish bands such as Yaz(oo), Soft Cell, or Depeche Mode, somehow innately I seemed to 'get' that these were tiny lil' symphonies composed with the tools at hand, modest as they may be. The arrangements and instrumentation may have been spare, but the SONG was right there. Up front and intoxicating. That an Alison Moyet, or a Marc Almond, or even a Dave Gahan (or Martin Gore) would lend their singular brand of soulfulness to the vocal proceedings infused the cold and spare with LIFE. This stuff breathed despite their seemingly simple origins."

I can't agree with you enough there. That's all I can say :)

JON said...

M! Welcome back!

G.H. said...

I hear you on the Mats. And I'd take the feelings they bring out over Animal Collective's production and mechanics any day. But I actually think there are moments you can sing along to -- "My Girls" chief among them. A few of the songs are production exercises, and a few sound like plenty of other stuff I've heard before (Dan Deacon or MGMT). But they do interesting stuff with vocals -- stuff I'd think Brian Wilson might be pretty impressed with. And there are probably half a dozen songs on MPP that are pretty good, and I'd say anywhere from 2-4 that are pretty great. Can you dance to it? Probably not, but I do think you can do something close to singing along.