20 Songs, 1 Hour 5 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

If, as more than one musical sage has opined, rock and roll is but a bittersweet loser's game, it's small wonder Minneapolis' beloved 'Mats remain virtual patron saints to a generation. While this 20-track overview can't possibly explore the full range of their often besotted musical glories, it nonetheless focuses their star-crossed career into something akin to riveting three-act drama. If early tracks like "Shiftless When Idle" display a penchant for energetic thrash that wasn't so different from many other early '80s punk-powered punters, they make the subsequent emergence of Paul Westerberg's songwriting talents all the more profound, as "Color Me Impressed" and "Within Your Reach" ably attest. In short order the band would produce one of the 80's most compelling rock albums with Let It Be, an effort that yielded a genuine alt.rock theme song with "Unsatisfied." Westerberg's muse continued to channel a generation's disaffection with insouciant, shaggy wit via Tim's bona fide anthems "Bastards of Young" and "Here Comes a Regular," while "Left of the Dial" bemoans the twilight of a hallowed commercial radio era the band seems hell-bent to improve. Even as they were falling apart the Mats yielded quirky delights like "Skyway" and "Alex Chilton" and showcased their dour pop-smarts on "I'll Be You" and the infectious "Merry Go-Round." The survivors offer up the album's undeniably nostalgic, yet satisfyingly stubbly new reunion recordings "Message to the Boys" and "Pool and Dive," a coda rife with a typically Westerberg-ian mix of melancholy and hope.

EDITORS’ NOTES

If, as more than one musical sage has opined, rock and roll is but a bittersweet loser's game, it's small wonder Minneapolis' beloved 'Mats remain virtual patron saints to a generation. While this 20-track overview can't possibly explore the full range of their often besotted musical glories, it nonetheless focuses their star-crossed career into something akin to riveting three-act drama. If early tracks like "Shiftless When Idle" display a penchant for energetic thrash that wasn't so different from many other early '80s punk-powered punters, they make the subsequent emergence of Paul Westerberg's songwriting talents all the more profound, as "Color Me Impressed" and "Within Your Reach" ably attest. In short order the band would produce one of the 80's most compelling rock albums with Let It Be, an effort that yielded a genuine alt.rock theme song with "Unsatisfied." Westerberg's muse continued to channel a generation's disaffection with insouciant, shaggy wit via Tim's bona fide anthems "Bastards of Young" and "Here Comes a Regular," while "Left of the Dial" bemoans the twilight of a hallowed commercial radio era the band seems hell-bent to improve. Even as they were falling apart the Mats yielded quirky delights like "Skyway" and "Alex Chilton" and showcased their dour pop-smarts on "I'll Be You" and the infectious "Merry Go-Round." The survivors offer up the album's undeniably nostalgic, yet satisfyingly stubbly new reunion recordings "Message to the Boys" and "Pool and Dive," a coda rife with a typically Westerberg-ian mix of melancholy and hope.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

Blimps Go 90 ,

The Greatest....Period!

Sorry if it sounds pompous but EVERY band that came along past 1991 owes a ton of gratitude to the Mats. They set the standard for all the sounds you hear from artists today and their albums still sound as good and relevant today as they did then. Never be another Replacements!

AssGoblin ,

Great Overview but...

Great compilation now that the Twin Tone stuff is included. Given that I got into the "Mats right when Pleased to Meet Me came out, I missed a lot of history but did get to see them twice before it became the "Paul" show. No one can take a cliche and turn it into the catchiest of songs like Paul Westerberg. Don't think that becasue the last two albums are shorted that they aren't great. It's just that by then, Paul had really found his groove and run with it and the other guys were along for the ride. If you want the raw energy that made up the group, grab "Sorry, Ma...", it's pure energy. And now for the "but".

...it's missing two of the best Replacements songs never to hit CD. The first, "If Only You Were Lonely" is a typical Westerberg yarn about being too drunk to talk to that one special girl. Priceless track. The other is the what could be the companion song for "Color Me Impressed", "Nowhere Is My Home". If the forthcoming box set is more than just a rumor, be sure to check out these jewels.

racecars4me24 ,

The Mats Are One Of The Best!!!!

I was fortunate enough to get into the Mats when the first came out onto the scene!!! One of the best bands I have ever seen live to this day...If only time stood still....This showcases most of their better stuff and then some. I can play it and think back 'n the day, This is definetly worth it. If you just heard about the band or you have known about the for years this is a great mix of their music. I highly recommend it and then some!!! Have fun and don't forget TO CRANK IT UP LOUD, AS LOUD AS YOU CAN!!!! GO MATS!!!!

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