Friday, 5 December 2008

The Replacements - Let It Be

Many people have written about The Replacement's third long-player Let It Be. I feel a bit sheepish, but I must admit, I'd never even heard of the album prior to perusing the 33 1/3 Wikipedia article (a series of books devoted to inspirational albums over the past thirty to forty years). So much for my supposed musicology credentials.
Well, times have changed. Previously, I had managed to listened to their 1987 record, "Pleased to Meet Me" (containing the great little punk-pop tune "Alex Chilton") and actually quite enjoyed it. After a few listens to "Let It Be", I have concluded that it is a superior album. Essentially it is an alternative album combining elements of early hardcore, punk and pop into what, I'm sure, was quite unique for 1983, the year in which is released.

All the songs are more than listenable. I am particularly fond of the poppy "I Will Dare" which features a great swinging bass line throughout the verses and blends comfortably with the lead vocal and lead melody as it moves into the chorus. The mellow piano driven ballad "Androgynous" sounds like the kind of song you’d hear a lounge pianist to belt out as you sit alone sipping whiskey on the rocks in the foyer of a Japanese four star hotel. The more punk flavoured tracks of "Favorite Thing" and "Tommy Gets his Tonsils Out" are great little tunes that give the record a truly diverse and dynamic feel.

In the end, is it as good as the make it out to be? I'm not quite sure. It is the kind of record I wish I had discovered when I was a teenager, when I was a bit less cynical about music. Nowadays it takes some convincing to get me signed up as an official fan, and while I do actually like the record, I don't yet consider it in the league of say "London Calling" by the Clash. While I doubt it will, don't let that comparison put you off, "Let It Be" is worthy of your hard earned cash, and gives an exciting insight into the early 1980's underground American alternative scene.

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