Wednesday, April 10, 2013

'Songs For Slim' Doesn't Replace the Replacements

The Replacements Songs For Slim
A couple week's ago friend on Facebook asked me about my stance on the new Replacements' "album." This was close to the time we go to bed and I wasn't inclined to get into a long analysis, so I replied simply: "Well, it's an EP of covers, unpretentiously played and produced. I enjoy it."

And that sufficed at that hour.

But I'll elaborate briefly now.

It's true that if pressed for my all-time favorite band I'd reply the 'Mats (the nickname for the band used by fans), but given I discovered them 26 years ago and they broke up (officially) 22 years ago it's based on a relatively short period. That was, however, the period in my early 20's that was my "heyday," when a band would imprint itself (so to speak) on my musical psyche. So it seems I should have a stance.

Shouldn't I?

That was also over two decades ago; my heyday of really digging in to music is, for better or for worse, behind me. Of course, even back in those days I was never particularly adept at discussing music, so it's not as though I lost something I had back in those days; even back then the best part of music was listening to it, not deconstructing it (as I seem inclined to do with most other things).

But now that my favorite band put out its first recordings in 22 years, as a fundraiser for medical expenses incurred by guitarist Slim Dunlap (who joined the band in the latter part of their career after original guitarist Bob Stinson had to be kicked out), should I be more excited about it? I think not. I downloaded the EP the first day it was available, and listened to it the next morning, which (if I may be brutally frank) these days is me being excited about new music.

For a band whose recordings meant so much to me (more than their live shows) and where the songwriting was a big part of that, I found myself pleased this was not attempting to be anything other than what it was: songs they didn't write (two are covers of Slim's songs) that aren't pretending to be a comeback (because that's not what this is--despite what some people clearly are hoping); it's a fun little listen that sounds like them, done for a struggling comrade, which doesn't besmirch that original stuff from that heyday.

It's precisely what it should be, nothing more, nothing less.

So there you go. Like the band, I am not what I was over two decades ago, but I think we both grasp that. We let the past be the past, and accept what we are now.


Please go to your preferred online or physical music outlet to buy the EP and the singles that are being released to raise more money for Slim.


Do we give it up? Should we give it hell? I don't know.

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