The Replacements first album is one of my favorite guilty pleasures: let’s face it Simon Westerburg’s band of Minnesotan boys are not very cool, but they are fun. Their first album, Sorry Ma, I Forgot To Take Out The Trash was promising, pure speed punk without enough Detroit fuzz in the mix, but it might have gone somewhere. Then they mellowed out and become power pop indie bastards who made me want to stick two fingers down my throat and vomit over their LPs. It’s ok. I was not angry. I was just disappointed. It is a Fleetwood Mac situation, without the Stevie Nicks and well…being good after their first incarnation…also without the band member changes of incestuous fucking. OK, not really like Fleetwood Mac apart from the schizoid blip between genres. It is not to say I can’t enjoy their more middle-of-the-road output, it is just that I don’t want to admit that I am that uncool.
The problem was their surroundings – they needed to get out of Minnesota. St Paul can be gritty enough, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it or vibe that the punk playgrounds summoned up. The only musical artist who could make that work was Prince. These boys needed to go to Detroit or New York, or even Los Angeles and concentrate on the trashier elements of their sound. They could have been great. They could have been irreplaceable. Instead…we have one slightly-late-to-the-punk-party album and a whole lot of marshmallow fluff. Shame.
Their later (shittier) output does not sully the pogo-ing fun of their first album, it is worth putting on when the sun shines and thinking about what could have been for this band. I guess someone has to make music for your favorite aged aunt and her beer swilling nephew, but did it really have to be these boys?