in CAT

C.A.T.: Let It Be

The Replacements – Let It Be (1984)

The year was 1984, and although the world wasn’t quite the dystopian society George Orwell had predicted, the pop charts were ruled with an iron fist by mostly bland synth-pop. Fortunately, bands like Husker Du and Minutemen were fighting this totalitarian lameness by turning their brand of hardcore punk into the highly ambitious double albums Zen Arcade and Double Nickels On The Dime respecitvely. Meanwhile, Minneapolis’s The Replacements stepped in with an album whose ambition came from combining the spirit of hardcore with pop melodies, all while lifting an album title from the biggest band ever.
The Replacements really were never cut out for the hardcore scene, and you can see glimpses of Paul Westerberg’s knack for writing poppier material on their earlier albums, but Let It Be is where Westerberg and the rest of The ‘Mats truly hit their stride. There are still punkier numbers on the album such as “We’re Coming Out” and “Gary’s Got A Boner”, and I’ll admit that those songs aren’t masterpieces or anything, but it’s kind of OK considering The Replacements’ imperfections were always part of their charm.
Let It Be‘s opening track “I Will Dare” pretty much sums up The ‘Mats newfound ability to construct a perfect pop song, and even features a guitar solo by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck. The other songs that really make the album great are the plaintive ballads like “Androgynous” and “Sixteen Blue”. Westerberg really taps into the kind of teenage disillusionment worthy of John Hughes, in fact it’s a shame he never used any Replacements songs in any of his movies.
It seems that there are a lot of people that consider Let It Be to be The Replacements finest album, but for me 1985’s Tim will always be their greatest achievement. I just remembered I originally acquired this album by borrowing it from John’s mom, that’s kind of weird.
Favorite Tracks: “I Will Dare”, “Androgynous”, “Unsatisfied”


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