CD Review of Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash by The Replacements
Recommended if you like
Hüsker Dü, Agent Orange,
Gang Green
The Replacements:
Sorry Ma, Forgot to
Take Out the Trash

Reviewed by Mojo Flucke, PhD


traight up: 2008 Mojo, if he could jump into the Wayback Machine and pop out in 1981, would probably give this record only three stars – especially if he knew in advance of the superior records that were to follow from the Minneapolis punks who mellowed into a monolithic punk-pop outfit and finally petered out in the early 1990s playing crappy, pseudo-introspective, alterna-folk pap. By that time, Paul Westerberg had more in common with Jewel than the snarly teenagers who put out a ferocious record that sounds like one part Hüsker Dü, one part Descendents, and one part Midwestern Carl Perkins rockabilly twang. Good but not great; all potential, and not so much on the execution side.

But that's what hindsight gives a person. Fast-forward to 2008, where this package easily pulls four stars, crushing other nostalgic retreads of similar ilk by:

  • Containing digitally remastered music that, oh by the way, turned out to be all-time classic indie rock – and please, we don't want to hear some stupid argument bemoaning the fact it's not just the same as a vinyl record someone tied to a bumper of a 1980 Caprice and dragged a few hundred yards to "break it in."
  • Adding 12 stunning bonus tracks that include the four-song demo Westerberg shopped around the Twin Cities in 1980 ("Basement Jam," a track originally on the album but was cut because the pressing plant didn't want its customers to go past 18 minutes a side; "If Only You Were Lonely," one of the first acoustic Westerberg solo cuts that set the table for his post-Mats material that originally was the B-side of the "I'm in Trouble" single; and "A Toe in a Shoe," the one and only Replacements song Bob Stinson wrote all by himself).
  • Great liner notes loaded with appropriately reverent essays and first-person stories from back in the day by Peter Jesperson, who discovered the band for Twin/Tone and produced their first four records, and then-label publicist Dave Ayers.

The demos are worth the price alone. They are everything even the most hardcore 'Mats fans dreams of hearing: An even punchier, more ferocious "Raised in the City" and "Shutup." As for the original 18 tracks, well, they're classic punk that's been dissected ad nauseam for 27 years – is there anything more to say, besides that they sound even more original, remastered with 2008 technology?

More seriously musical than the Descendents (even counting the fact there's the song "I Hate Music"), more comprehensible than the at-the-time speed-punkin' Dü (although Bob Mould and Paul Westerberg both proved soon after 1981 that they were capable of writing gorgeous pop songs), and every bit as raw and unpolished as the best stuff was back then in punk's heyday – that's the Replacements in a nutshell without getting all banal about the good old days.

The Replacements

There will never be another punk era, and there will never be another Replacements – who somehow managed to keep intelligent music fans alive between the fall of the Clash and the rise of Nirvana. Without them, countless thousands would have died, asphyxiated in the musical vacuum created by the likes of Poison, Exposé, Cinderella, Cutting Crew, New Kids on the Block, Icehouse…did I forget any? Yeah, lots. But you get the point: Underrated and to this day, still an underground phenomenon, Rhino gets a tip of the cap for not taking out this glorious trash.

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