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Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, Stink, Hootenanny, Let It Be

Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, Stink, Hootenanny, and Let It Be (Twin\Tone / Rykodisc / Rhino)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., May 2, 2008

Reissues

The Replacements

Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (Twin\Tone/Rykodisc/Rhino)

The Replacements

Stink (Twin\Tone/Rykodisc/Rhino)

The Replacements

Hootenanny (Twin\Tone/Rykodisc/Rhino)

The Replacements

Let It Be (Twin\Tone/Rykodisc/Rhino)

Generations have passed since the Replacements mattered, so it's difficult getting across to those who didn't have firsthand experience of the Minneapolis quartet's inebriated teenage angst and murky tenderness what all the ruckus was about. The group's first four albums have been reissued before, but with the addition of bonus tracks and well-crafted liner notes, this campaign fills in some of the blanks, a testament to the band's whimsical trek to nowhere in particular. 1981 debut Sorry Ma, a self-proclaimed burst of "power trash," blusters almost metal without the chops, fierce yet melodic. Among its 13 bonus tracks are four cuts from the original demo tape that brought the 'Mats to producer/manager Peter Jesperson's attention, plus the first single B-side, "If Only You Were Lonely," an acoustic performance by Paul Westerberg that hints at his later genius. Originally an EP, '82's Stink possesses an even more punk stance led by the obstinate "Kids Don't Follow" and "God Damn Job." Among the new additions, snot-nosed takes of Hank Williams' "Hey, Good Lookin'" and Bill Haley's "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" demonstrate the band's ability to tackle almost any pop song with a wink but no nod. Hootenanny ('83) finds the Replacements mulching a sink full of pop influences with nimble rocker "Color Me Impressed," the stifling heartbreak of "Within Your Reach," and the bonus glam boogie of "Lookin' for Ya" leading the way. One of the best rock discs ever, 1984's Let It Be is a raucous flurry of tunes like the blustering "I Will Dare," yearning "Unsatisfied," and thrashing "Answering Machine," not to mention an inspired cover of Kiss' "Black Diamond" and teenage anthem "Androgynous." Westerberg's songwriting is arguably his most insightful and poignant yet with an immature edge that's unparalleled. Additional covers of T. Rex and the Grass Roots bring little to an album that everyone should own at least one copy of already.

(Sorry, Ma; Stink) ***

(Hootenanny) ***.5

(Let It Be) *****

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