CD Review of Tim (Deluxe Edition) by The Replacements
Recommended if you like
Paul Westerberg, Soul Asylum,
Big Star
The Replacements:
Tim (Deluxe Edition)

Reviewed by Mojo Flucke, PhD


irst of all, where in the hell have the 23 years gone since this came out? Are you kidding me? Perhaps it seems just like yesterday that the Replacements' first major-label record came out on Sire because it's the mellowing-punk blueprint that every would-be tough guy and gal on the modern pop charts uses to show us their vulnerable sides by brandishing their acoustic guitars and getting a little weepy. Every single acoustic-electric rock band that's emerged from the postmodern ooze of the late 1980s, from They Might Be Giants to Green Day to a million other bands, both popular and obscure. The Replacements gave punks permission to put a little country twang in their swagger, to reveal a little folky emotion, to add a couple dimensions to three chords and a cloud of dust.

But we're here not to rehash the original release of Tim (what a great album) or to take sides on the early/hardcore-vs.-later/mature Paul Westerberg output (OK, he revealed a much finer, complex talent on Tim and Pleased to Meet Me than most of us thought he was capable of – and everything after that was basically sucking fumes of past glories), but to instead talk about the Rhino reissue of the record and to weigh it against what's come before. Oh, and I'm not here to bash the Tommy Ramone production, either, because I just can't say with any conviction that it ruined the band as some rabid early adopters would have us believe. Ramone's production, Westerberg's early maturity, and the expulsion of Bob Stinson from the band changed the band, for sure, but if all their records sounded the same, they'd be called the Eagles, right? Who wants that?

No, our purpose is to confirm that all the great bashin' pop is still here: The rocking opener "Hold My Life," the live anthem "Bastards of Young," college rock paean "Left of the Dial," the mournful love-lost tale "Little Mascara," which also could be the interpreted as the Replacements' version of Journey's "Patiently." The ballads like "Swingin' Party"? Check. All present and accounted for, as we left them.

More importantly, six bonus tracks round out the set, including both acoustic and electric outtakes of "Can't Hardly Wait," which definitively illustrate Westerberg's work process and aurally showcase his ability to create compositions that stand up equally well to both treatments. Alternate takes of "Waitress in the Sky" and "Here Comes a Regular" are here, as well as "Nowhere Is My Home," and a demo for "Kiss Me on the Bus," the latter recorded as proof-of-concept that the Ramone-Replacements marriage would work. Great stuff for devoted fans of the post-Twin/Tone Replacements, and interesting to those of us who hadn't upgraded from vinyl. As for the folks who'd gotten previous CD issues of Tim? It's likely been quite awhile since you bought that CD, son. If you're the 'Mats diehard you used to be, it's probably worth buying again, if only for the extensive liner notes featuring new interviews with the surviving band members.

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