The Sons of No One
Rhino Records completes its reissue series of Minneapolis's "bastard" sons, the Replacements, with four albums spanning the band's decline from 1985 to 1990.
The best thing about the Replacements for these acts (not to mention several of the bands I've been in) was their relatability. The were a true band's band. In their earlier works one can almost feel the youthful camaraderie that pervaded their rowdy, silly, and often slap-dash lo-fi tracks. They had a keen sense of self-deprecatory humor, and their intent as musicians thankfully didn't seem to extend much further than having a good, intoxicated time. As the group evolved, however, they dealt with not only the natural progression into maturity but the demands implicit in producing music for a major label. The insecurities and vulnerabilities of these growing concerns found refuge in their music, but they never completely lost their tongue-in-cheek swagger. Of course they made plenty of mistakes along the way, but that only adds to their relatability. Friendships fell apart, members were replaced, and lead singer and principal songwriter Paul Westerberg brought in studio musicians to record most of their final album. Not cool.
But their body of work speaks for itself. The Replacements wrote loving anthems for the downtrodden, the underdogs--precisely those who rock and roll, at its purest, is for and about.