Let It Be
Released in 1984, the Replacements’ third album, Let It Be, remains one of the most beloved albums of any era. It brilliantly captures a point in time when punk bands were maturing into full-on rock n’ roll groups, when the deliberate noise and aggression of the past decade was distilling into powerful songwriting, and when a self-propelled underground music movement proved it had staying power regardless of mainstream indifference. Let It Be has its silly side; “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” and “Gary’s Got a Boner” don’t take themselves seriously. The cover of Kiss’ “Black Diamond” is pure rock thunder. “Seen Your Video” expresses the band’s suspect contempt for the outside world. But Paul Westerberg compositions such as “Unsatisfied,” “Androgynous,” “Sixteen Blue,” and “Answering Machine” display an emotionally naked singer and songwriter who would influence and affect a generation. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain learned more than a thing or two from this album. Essential.