Friday Night Is Killing Me

If you’ve read this blog with any sense of frequency than you may be aware of my adoration for The Replacements. Paul Westerberg and his drunken compadres spent the 80s making some of the most viscerally charged hard rock and heart-on-the-sleeve balladry of all time. In the early 90s the band splintered into fourths, with most of the attention focused on what Westerberg would do next. After laying low for a while he surfaced with a pair of songs on the soundtrack to the movie Singles (including the hard-hitting and catchy “Waiting For Somebody”), and a solo debut in 14 Songs. Both did a lot to put him back into the indie public eye, but neither provided the mainstream crossover success that they were obviously aimed at.

Somewhere around the same time his former bassist, Tommy Stinson, slipped out his own ragged collection of tunes to little fanfare. I read the 3-star review of Bash n’ Pop’s Friday Night Is Killing Me in Rolling Stone and was intrigued, and having heard the first single “Loose Ends” on the radio, picked up the CD. All those years of under-aged touring and watching a great songwriter work up close had provided plenty of inspiration to Stinson, who was amazingly at the time still in his mid-20s. Friday Night Is Killing Me initially hit me much harder than 14 Songs, and provoked, along with the solo work of Westerberg and drummer Chris Mars, a famously naïve quote (among my friend John and I) that “I’m glad the Replacements split up. Now we get 3 times as many albums that sound like them.”

If you’re a fan of The Replacements than you’d be wise to check out Friday Night Is Killing Me. Until the Stereo/Mono albums in 2002 it was my favorite, along with 14 Songs, post-Replacements record. The title track alone is worth the price, but the album houses a healthy mix of barroom rockers and weepy folk rock ballads. It may not be Let It Be or Tim, but it’s certainly better than Don’t Tell A Soul or Eventually.

MP3 :: Friday Night Is Killing Me
MP3 :: Loose Ends
(from Friday Night Is Killing Me. Buy here)


David said...

Far and away my favorite of the first round of post-Mats releases. LOVED "Satellite," Tommy's track of "Don't Buy Or Sell, It's Crap," and wondered if that was a fluke or a sign of things to come. Fortunately, I think, it was the latter.

For me, "Tiny Pieces" was the standout track here, followed by the title track. I liked Perfect less than Bash N Pop, but think Tommy returned to form with his last solo release.

Whaddya think of Slim's solo work? I never followed him past his first release, which I liked but didn't really love ...

James said...

Hey David, thanks for your comments. Yeah, at the time FNIKM hit me much harder than 14 Songs, but I'd say now I go back to Westerberg's debut as much as this. But this has some really good songs. Tiny Pieces has always been a favorite of mine too. I never listened to Perfect, maybe because it was so hard to find for so long, and I have the Gorilla Head cd - like it, don't love it.

Slim was the one guy I never listened to after the Mats split. I had the second Mars album (3/4 Less Fat?) and never really loved that one.

There are some new performances of Westerberg playing a new song and an outtake from ASD live recently. I'm not sure what blog I saw it on but they were good, you should take a look - maybe it was I Am Fuel, You Are Friends?

Ginny said...

Stereo is great, and I also really enjoy Folker as well.