This is a tricky post to write, because the Replacements had no hits to begin with, and because you more than likely heard of the band before you ever heard their tunes on the radio.
Decades (almost) after their dissolution, fresh evidence of their greatness is on a slew of reissues of their ouevre, a treatment that Billboard magazine says closes the book on the band's also-ran history.
But they were supposed to have several megahits, albeit not necessarily the most raw, passionate, melodic, uncompromising cuts they waxed in their artistic prime.
As an aside, for comparison, the three hits they were supposed to easily have notched are:
- Achin' to Be
- I'll Be You
- The Ledge
The first song I would call a coulda-been, shoulda-been anthem for moody teens across the land back in the day, but because of mismarketing and blah blah blah, it didn't happen.
The next song was a hot track during the band's tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who at the time were superstar rockers while the Replacements were the little underground engine that could, then didn't. Petty famously plagiarized the line "rebel without a clue" from the song, penned by Paul Westerberg.
The third song, for some insane reason, got a video produced that, in classic alternative-rock-snotty fashion, had nothing very kinetic going on in it -- an anti-video that Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam likely still envies. Bizarrely, I can't find a YouTube clip of the memorable nonsense, although this New York Times blog includes it.
But I digress.
The three Replacements songs that should be required teaching in schools of rock from coast to coast are:
- Nowhere Is My Home
- Color Me Impressed
- Bastards of Young
The first song was a bona fide sing-along for teen-and-upward lost souls to shout out madly, "Nowhere -- that's my home!" I can't find video footage to stick in here, tragically. You can sample it on Amazon.
The second song was a lost track on the ridiculously misnamed Hootenanny, which I figured at the time was a sad effort at connecting with some sorry-ass folk-music fans. Really, it just means a good jamming time to be had by all. Oh, well.
The third song every Replacements fan knows and loves, but I needed something to round out the list. "Bastards" is as catchy as anything the group did.
What the heck, here's another dose of the mighty 'Mats doing it up right:
Runners up to both lists, which are shamelessly subjective and unabashedly biased, are Can't Hardly Wait, Here Comes a Regular, I Will Dare, Unsatisfied, Androgynous (that was a ballsy song to write in the obnoxious hardcore-punk scene of yesteryear), Left of the Dial (of course!), Talent Show ("We're feeling good from the pills we took"), etc., etc., and so forth.
Ah, lest we forget all those "lip-synch chicks."
Then there's the matter of Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, the first Replacements album I really connected with -- but that a pal of mine dismissed as "really punk" in a snide way.
Followed later, of course, by Westerberg's transcendant solo albums that are still coming.
Wow, what a band. You gotta love 'em. Bow down, today's emo weiners, bow down. Here's where you can find most of these tracks in one place.
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