CD Review of Stink by The Replacements
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The Replacements: Stink

Reviewed by Will Harris


This is the Minneapolis police. The party is over. If you all just grab your stuff and leave, there won’t be any hassle. The party’s been closed. The party is over with; grab your stuff and go, and nobody goes to jail.”

- The Replacements, “Kids Don’t Follow”

After their sloppy but slap-happy fun of their debut album, Sorry Ma Forgot To Take Out The Trash, the Replacements were in a state of musical confusion, trying to decide if they wanted to parallel the career of their Minneapolis peers/rivals, Hüsker Dü, or pave their own path. When ‘Mats frontman Paul Westerberg took pen to paper in 1982 and composed a new song called “Kids Don’t Follow,” the number so impressed local record store owner Peter Jesperson that he went to the band’s record label, Twin/Tone, and declared, “I will do anything to get this out. I will hand-stamp jackets if I have to.”

Not only did he make good on his promise, Jesperson proceeded to go on to write the liner notes of the 2008 CD reissue of the album he once hand-stamped: Stink.

Actually, Stink was originally an EP, containing a paltry eight songs, five of which clocked in at under two minutes in length, but since it’s been expanded to a full dozen tracks, we think it’s earned the right to be referred to as a proper album. It has not, however, earned a spectacular rating, owing to its portrait of a band who quite clearly didn’t know who the fuck they were or what the fuck they wanted to sound like.

Jesperson was right about one thing: “Kids Don’t Follow” is genius. Rather than the anthem against peer pressure which the title might imply to some, it’s actually a tirade against the ridiculous adults who think that the youth of today actually give a shit about what they have to say.

Kids don't need that
Kids don't want that
Kids don't need nothing of the kind
Kids don't follow

It’s a great song of rebellion, and it’s rightfully considered to be a classic Replacements track by just about anyone who’s familiar with the band. Unfortunately, there are precious few other songs on Stink which come anywhere near approaching its greatness.

The Replacements

This is easily the most hardcore the group’s sound ever got, but although titles like “Fuck School,” “God Damn Job,” and “Dope Smokin Moron” would seem to inspire the slackers of the world to shout, “My God, it’s like they reached into my head and wrote lyrics based on my thoughts,” the music rarely lives up to that promise, involving little more than loud screaming and a lot of thrashing. “White and Lazy” is an exception to the rule, however, allowing for a brief foray into the blues; “Go” also leaves the sloppy and speedy behind, with the ‘Mats offering a glimpse of the sound of their next album, Hootenanny.

Of the four bonus tracks which have been tacked onto Stink, “Staples in Her Stomach” is on par with the majority of the album’s faster material; covers of Hank Williams (“Hey, Good Lookin’) and Bill Haley (“Rock Around The Clock”) aren’t overly revelatory, but they’re definitely fun. Inevitably, the most eye-opening of this foursome proves to be Westerberg’s solo home demo of “You’re Getting Married,” which, upon being played to the band, met with Bob Stinson’s famously derisive comment, “Save that for your solo album, Paul, that ain't the Replacements.” The late Mr. Stinson might’ve been right for what the Replacements were at that time, but the song offers a telling glimpse of what the band would soon become.

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