« Friday Random Top 10 | Main | Good Weekend for Goldy! »

30 Best Loved Albums - Let It Be

2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. Here's number 2 on the list:

let it be.jpg

2. The Replacements - Let It Be (1984)
Going to the University of Minnesota in the early- to mid-1980’s meant that I had a front row seat to the “Golden Age? of the local music scene. Any day of the week you could easily see the Suburbs, Soul Asylum, Husker Du, The Phones, Prince, The Wallets, and a host of other great bands that have slipped into the mists of time. However my personal favorite was by far The Replacements, a band that I easily saw more than 50 times. And so it goes without saying that Let It Be would be on my list of 30 best loved albums.

From the iconoclastic Beatles-esque title, to the cover of Paul, Bob, Tommy, and Chris sitting on the roof of a porch of a typical SW Minneapolis home, to the snarky song about MTV, the album perfectly captures the feel and sense of 1984. What is great about this album, however, is its timelessness. Even though I couldn’t imagine this album being recorded at any time other than 1984, the album doesn’t feel dated some 20 years later.

The album kicks off with I Will Dare which was easily the Replacements biggest hit and most accessible song. Through this song, a lot more people were brought into the Replacement’s fold and, like Pretenders, helped with the ladies as you could play this Replacements song and not clear the dance floor (important when you are in college!).

The following three songs, Favorite Thing, We’re Coming Out, and Tommy Got His Tonsils Out were classic Replacements rockers full of Bob’s furious guitar work and Paul’s smart assy lyrics. Androgynous is a switch as a piano-led, slower tempo song. It was right before Let It Be came out that Paul was hanging out with Peter Buck of REM (That’s Buck's mandolin on I Will Dare) and we saw them once hanging out at First Avenue with eye liner. Needless to say that my friend Pete and I used eyeliner a lot that summer when we went out.

Black Diamond was the first cover recorded by the Replacements and it was perfect as they played the song straight but in an “ironic? way so that anyone in the know would get the joke. Seen Your Video, with it’s three lines (Seen your video/it’s only rock and roll/we don’t want to know) also was spot-on as by this time MTV had been taken over by slick, expensively-produced videos usually from fey English bands that didn’t have room for guitars. Finally I think Gary’s Got a Boner would be considered a classic rock and roll song if it wasn’t for it’s goofy subject matter.

The songs Unsatisfied and 16 Blue were probably the most lauded songs and really shone a spotlight on Paul’s song writing skills. Even though I was 21 at the time, I wasn’t that too far removed from 16 and understood 16 Blue's significance completely. The Replacements were playing these songs live for a few months prior to the release of the album and at that time we knew that their next album was going to be something special.

Let It Be really demonstrated what the Replacements were and could be. It was an exciting time as it appeared that they were on their way to superstardom. Unfortunately they were about 10 years too early. If this album had been released in 1994, they would have been bigger than Nirvana. This album some kicked off what some consider the Holy Trinity of Replacements’ albums: Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased to Meet Me. Many consider Tim the definitive album, and I respect that opinion but for meaning and musical enjoyment, Let It Be will always be one of my fave’ things.

Place on the Definitive 200: Not on the List

Comments

Freealonzo: Outstanding choice! Easily my favorite band of all time. You are correct that this album is timeless. It's 23 years old (scary!) and sounds like it could have been written yesterday. I picked "Tim" in my list because of sheer timing. "Let It Be" came out when I was a junior in HS, and "Tim" was released during my freshman year in college (start of the "bar years")so the songs really hit home. Both are classics!

Wow, what a time and place to be young.

A few questions and quibbles:

  1. Do you mean that it's literally Buck's mandolin (not his playing)? Because I'm pretty sure that it's Paul's playing, and Buck gets a guitar solo.
  2. I don't really think of "Black Diamond" as an ironic choice. What makes this (and subsequent 'Mats covers) watermarks is that they were perhaps the first punk act to acknowledge there's something worth keeping in metal, which is key, because there was a war on betweent the two camps, despite their mutual love for volume.
  3. I don't know why more 'Mats fans don't find Tim over-rated. Bob's a sorry mess and the best guitar work is already coming from Paul. The single, "Bastards of Young," sounds like a cynical attempt to write a single. It makes me sad to listen to and for all the wrong reasons.
I came to this blog for Mark Trail musings. Replacements musings are better.

Hello in there. I dig & love LET IT BE & Tim pretty much equally. The latter brings me fondly back to my ice cream truck daze (bumpersticker: CAUTION: I Brake for Jerry). Here's my gripe for this blog: an ear blaring omission of the f***ing URBAN GUERRILLAS. Which brings me to my punkass plea: W T F ????
peace, TTF

Hey Freak, Sorry but for the life of me I couldn't remember the name of the Urban Guerrillas. I looked through my old tapes and everything and I couldn't conjur the name. I'm glad you read this because they definitely deserve a shout out. I'll never forget that News Years Eve show at (I think) Williams Pub.

No problemo. I was just championing for the obscurity soaked urban underdogs. I was at that New Years show too!! Though my recollection is somewhat hazy. Anyway here's the bonus: I have a CD (Al Savage gave it to me years ago) that has both the UG studio albums on it: 1) Darwin's Theory of Pelvic Revolution & 2) Attack of the Pink Heat Seeking Moistures Missiles. Somebody recorded them onto disc from vinyl so it's got some pops etc but they're subtle (arguably beautiful). So I'm gonna burn you a copy for your collection. I'll let you know when it's done & we'll take it from there.
take care, FreaK

Hey Freak, that's real cool. I'll look forward to the CDs. btw, I know you were at that New Years Eve show, a bunch of us went together! Rembember burning that flag? Guess my memory has survived a bit better than yours.

I've always preferred Sorry Ma... over Let It Be. It seems to capture more of the heart of the Replacements. Although really there's no such thing as a bad Replacements record is there? The 80s were so fun in Minneapolis weren't they?
On a side note I have been DESPARATELY searching for Urban Guerrillas records for years! I used to have Darwin's theory but somewhere along the line I lost it. If you could point me in any general direction for finding these I would worship you forever. They were one of my absolute favorites back in the day. If you have any info please email anitalalouise@gmail.com

Hey Freak did you read that? I (you too) would be worshipped forever if we got that last commenter some Urban Guerillas.

Let's connect if you have those CD's.

Also, Freak if you are reading this, Noel N. is getting married this summer, I fill you in on the details off-blog.

Whoa, I just found this site via google; who's the hero with the Urban Guerrillas CD?! Man, I would LOVE to get a copy of that. My vinyl is all gone, no more turntable, but I really really dug those guys back in the day... Let me know if anyone can help me out. Trades?

Cheers!

Looks like it's time for me to get my burning game on. Urban Guerrillas for all!! Contact me at will. I'm so glad that Mpls remembers the fun & chaotic UGs. Thanks for the Headsup Dean.
peace, TTF

Woo Hoo!! I have sent an email to thefreak@weeklyfreak.com about the Urban Geurrillas CDs. Hopefully it will find it's way to you. Thanks!

Email form me too...

Man, I can't wait to hear this again!

O.k. this post has been officially taken over by the need for those Urban Guerilla CDs. Freak, you gotta produce... Once I get my UG CD's I will review at this site, please come back for response

I'm obviously a little older than you guys and lived too far away from the cities to get a good dose of the local music scene, so I don't remember the UG's (but I do foggily remember some of the related bands). I recently met Gary who was the drummer for UG's and would like to check out the CD, if I could get a copy.

Would also love to get the UG on CD!!!

Would also love to get the UG on CD!!!

If anyone is interested in the UG CD's discussed in the comments, send me a private e-mail at carls064@umn.edu. I'll hook you up!

Check out this post if interested in more about the Urban Guerrillas

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/carls064/freealonzo/2007/09/where_are_they_now_urban_guerr.html

Does any one remember when they were closing Duffy's (to turn into No More Jeans). The UGs were playing the closing night but they kept extending the closing so I got to see the UGs play 3 nights in a row.

I have foggy memories of the Urban Guerrillas shows...at Duffy's (remember their wet T-shirt nights?!!), 1st Ave, maybe even Goofy's. It's all fading together. All I have is my MP3's I burned from a 20 year old Memorex tape of Darwin's Theory of Pelvic Revolution. Amazing how it still seems to sound fresh. I've been searching for the vinyl, and would happily record/burn to MP3 if anyone out there had the albums but was lacking the technology.

I can't wait to check out your show.

Post a comment