band out of the crucial Minneapolis indie scene (see
also Husker Du, R.E.M.), the Replacements were possibly
the most passionate and heartfelt band of the period.
Mainly due to the confessional songwriting of Paul Westerburg,
the band was able to explore territory where other bands
simply couldn't or didn't want to go. Westerburg's lyricism
often led to effective albeit curious pseudo-ballads,
while the band's drunken aggression often reared its
head with sometimes sloppy results.
songs on Let It Be are thoughtful, full of emotion,
and varied. The catchy "I Will Dare" starts
things off, and includes Paul playing mandolin and a
guitar solo by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck. The band rages full
on in "We're Comin' Out," a reminder of their
punk past. In "Androgynous," the band takes
a break and Westerburg's lyrics finally come to the
forefront, complete with piano backing. The rest of
the album is basically a vehicle for Westerburg's songwriting,
with songs like "Unsatisfied," "Sixteen
Blue," and "Answering Machine." Of course,
just to make things interesting, there's even a cover
of Kiss's "Black Diamond."
It Be is arguably the Replacements' best work. It's
one of those essential 1984 albums, as well as the band's
last indie label work. The emerging talent of Paul Westerburg
also becomes apparent here, and the band is clearly
in their prime. The post-punk found here remains some
of the best.