Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Replacements - I'll Be You

The Replacements were an influential alt-rock band whose popularity never matched their impact.  This is at least partly due to their behavior -- they refused to promote their albums, and their drunken, sloppy live shows are the stuff of legend.  They also did not concern themselves with videos until the end of their career, effectively cutting themselves off from the MTV audience.

While the Replacements seemed to be almost gleefully ignoring the business part of the music business, they also wrote some great music during the 1980's, and became trailblazers for the emerging indie rock scene.  This can be clearly heard in "I'll Be You," the band's only charting single (#51), from 1989's Don't Tell a Soul.  Although frontman Paul Westerberg has stated he views the song as over-produced, it still sounds like a stripped down rock song to me, with pop, rock and punk influences.  In other words, it was ahead of its time and sounded different from what was on the radio at the time.

Unfortunately, by the time Don't Tell a Soul came out, the band was already fraying, and they broke up in the early 1990's.  Westerberg continued to sporadically make music (most noteably for the Cameron Crowe movie "Singles"), though it seems like his heart wasn't in it after the Replacements broke up.

Lastly, pay attention to the lyrics; Westerberg is one of the great rock lyricists, in my opinion.

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