Pleased To Meet Me
The Replacements were the ‘80s alternative rock band that almost made it. For their ardent fans, the magic is in that ‘almost.’ The band, led by songwriter Paul Westerberg, focused on life’s beautiful losers, those cursed by circumstance and the fatal flaw that never allows success through the door, no matter how loud the knock of opportunity. Southern cult rocker, Big Star’s Alex Chilton is lauded in a song bearing his name, and it’s on his wild, weary spirit that the band’s raucous Stones-esque sound is based. “I.O.U.,” “Never Mind,” “Valentine” and especially the diving suicide tale of “The Ledge” stand among the their finest songs. Guitarist Bob Stinson was out of the band by this point, leaving the guitar duties to Westerberg, who was also busy wrestling with Chilton’s old producer Jim Dickinson over what he saw as too-controlling production. The sparse acoustic gentility of “Skyway” points towards Westerberg’s eventual solo career, while “Can’t Hardly Wait” struggles to put Memphis horns on the band’s audience rousing staple with relative success. Perfection was never in the band’s vocabulary. Like the Faces who the band clearly emulated, they specialized in a warts-n-all realism.