Published on September 21st, 2020 | by Ron Spizziri0
Ron’s Picks – The Replacements, ‘Let It Be’
This week in Ron’s Picks, he looks at The Replacement’s album, ‘Let It Be.’ A ballsy move to name your record after a Beatles album!
In 1981, a Minneapolis-based band by the name of The Replacements released an album of noisy, sloppy punk-flavored rock. They followed up their debut effort with an E.P. and then a full-length album of similar fare. None of those early releases garnered much favor with music fans or critics. Their following release in 1984, however, showed the group expanding their musical reach and revealing a marked maturity in the songwriting of rhythm guitarist/vocalist Paul Westerberg. ‘Let It Be’ gained The Replacements a sizable following and critical acclaim.
Titling an album after a classic release by The Beatles takes quite a bit of daring; was it merely a coincidence that the opening track of the album was a number entitled. “I Will Dare?” Reviews of the album included phrases such as “a ragged mess,” “careens widely from dirty jokes to wounded ballads,” and, “utter throwaway songs to powerful haunting ones.” From the outset, The Replacements never separated high and low culture, which accounted in large part for the enjoyment derived from all their releases. Let It be is comprised of all original compositions, save for one cover tune – Kiss’ ‘Black Diamond.’
Although I had enjoyed their earlier efforts, it was Let It Be which endeared the band to me. (The album was my #3 favorite release of 1984, as featured on Nightwaves, a weekly radio show I’ve been hosting on CFCR-FM for the past 35 years.) The band was signed to a major record label after the release of Let It be, but most fans continue to refer to this 1984 release as the group’s masterpiece. Fans of Husker Du, another Minneapolis outfit who came onto the scene at the same time as The Replacements, should not overlook the output of The Replacements.