There comes a time when every rock fan reaches a certain age (I think they call it “middle”) when he or she decides that every hot new band pretty much sucks. Perhaps it’s only a temporary condition, soon to be replaced by a renewed faith in the spirit of youthful rock ’n’ roll. But until then, our reasoning goes like this: “This [blog-acclaimed cult band] sounds exactly like the [’zine-acclaimed cult band] I used to listen to 20 years ago—but worse. So why bother?”
And that, my friends, is why we curmudgeons spend more money on reissues than new releases. But even if you’re not a moldy fig (look it up on Wikipedia, kids), you really shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy The Replacements’ Let It Be one more time. The ultimate album from the ultimate “college rock” band of the ’80s finally gets a proper CD release (along with the rest of the Twin/Tone catalog) courtesy of the reissue experts at Rhino Records.
The Replacements’ original Twin/Tone CDs were not known for their sound quality, and urban legend had it that the band had dumped their master tapes into the Mississippi River in a fit of spite. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, and Twin/Tone mastermind Peter Jesperson dug up the original recordings for the Rhino remastering. The results are much more pleasing than the treble-fest of the old discs—you can actually appreciate the guys’ playing in addition to their energy. Plus, you can hear Paul Westerberg’s self-disgust that much more clearly in the ennui classic “Unsatisfied.”
But that’s not all! What’s a reissue without bonus tracks? While a lot of The Replacement’s “lost” gems are floating around the Internet, it’s nice to have band-approved versions, like the home demo of “Answering Machine,” outtakes such as “Temptation Eyes,” and the B-side cover of “20th Century Boy.”
Happy days for ‘Mats fans. Why, it’s enough to make you less irritated by their imitators, for just a moment.