2 October 2013

2nd October - The Replacements' Let It Be

Artist – Album: The Replacements – Let It Be
Released:  2nd October 1984
Sounds Like: The Breakfast Club if Beavis and Butthead had writing credits

It’s a little surprising just how many more coming-of-age films there are than albums. Top of my head: Stand by Me, The Breakfast Club, Billy Elliott, Rebel Without a Cause, Kes, The 400 Blows, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Gregory’s Girl are all excellent candidates in the film corner; I’m struggling to think of even one for music. There are plenty of album reviews that contain the phrase of course, but these refer to a new maturity in the band themselves, in their musical or lyrical or songwriting ability, and not a record that is actually about the progression into adulthood. Therefore I’m going to say – bold as brass and with little fear of contradiction – that Let It Be is the greatest coming-of-age album of all time.

The album starts with ‘I Will Dare’ and ‘Favorite Thing’, two swaggering anthems, one indie and one rock and roll, that brilliantly capture the overwhelming intensity of young love. Teenage issues both specific (‘Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out’ and ‘Gary’s Got a Boner’) and general (‘Unsatisfied’) are covered, with the sharp eye for detail of someone who is not too far removed from their teenage years to remember the angst but is old enough to play and poke fun at it when needed. ‘Sixteen Blue’ is one of the undoubted highlights, with the empathetic “your age is the hardest age” and it’s comforting, everybody’s-been-there lyrics.
Of course, the album did also mark a maturing of the band’s sound, as they developed from the loose punk rockers of earlier albums (and best shown here with the headbanger ‘We’re Comin’ Out’), to a much more eclectic base. There was a nod to glam metal with their cover of Kiss’ ‘Black Diamond’, quirky piano pop on ‘Androgynous’ and stunning indie-rock on ‘Unsatisfied’, ‘Sixteen Blue’ and ‘Answering Machine’.I Will Dare’ featured the jangling guitars R.E.M’s Peter Buck, and, as lead singer Paul Westerberg once noted, also served as an apt motto for the group: “We'll dare to flop [. . .] We'll dare to do anything."

Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1.       I Will Dare – 3:18
2.       Favorite Thing – 2:19
3.       We’re Comin’ Out – 2:21
4.       Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out – 1:53
5.       Androgynous – 3:11
6.       Black Diamond – 2:40
7.       Unsatisfied – 4:01
8.       Seen Your Video – 3:08
9.       Gary’s Got a Boner – 2:28
10.   Sixteen Blue – 4:24
11.   Answering Machine – 3:40

Listen to ‘Unsatisfied: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BUeO5YGF2Q

Also released on 2nd October:
1995: Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory
Also released on 2nd October:
2000: Radiohead – Kid A

Also released on 2nd October:
2007: MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

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