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)