I’ve never met a Roscoe. Then they’d be good and drunk, and it would be great. The band’s previous five LPs were snarky slacker masterpieces full of chintzy songs about hating music ’cause it’s got too many notes, ironic Kiss covers, and the occasional tender ballad, and their concerts were more like drunken hootenannies — all of this sloppiness was what won them their legend. It’s not as good as side one, but I think it’s solid all the way through, including “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Under the glossy (by their standards) exterior is a classic Replacements lyric that seems to be about wanting something very badly but not being sure what it is, against a backdrop of failure and decadence. When compared to the rest of the band's output, "Pleased to Meet Me" is somewhat disappointing. I’ll just say he should be very proud of “Skyway” and omit the urge to comment (again) on male silliness. He draws small comfort from the fact that the Skyway isn’t the bourgeois refuge it seems to be (“It’s got bums when it’s cold like any other place”), but still clings to the fantasy of meeting the girl someday. They may be slightly off-center, but for the most part they are decent people with college degrees and jobs. Just in case you’re misinterpreting my commentary as negative criticism, let me clarify: the apparent lack of anything closely resembling a pulse in The Replacements’ performance on “Nightclub Jitters” is just about the most perfect thing they ever did. The Replacements. I was really struck by a comment by Scott Litt, who produced the final Replacements album, All Shook Down. While you do hear a few sops to commercial considerations on Pleased to Meet Me, most of those were added by Dickinson post-production. “Alex Chilton” is alternative power pop at its best, an explosive, bouncy number with a delightful rhythmic kick in the chorus accentuated by sharp, reverberating hand claps. And the strings on the original “Can’t Hardly Wait” stepped on the dropout when Westerberg sings the title. These recordings all have a raw, intimate quality that sounded polished on the LP. Pleased to Meet Me was recorded in Ardent Studios in Memphis, and as a member of The Dixie Flyers, producer Jim Dickinson just had to infuse some of the tracks with Memphis Soul. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do or say Westerberg’s tone lies somewhere between devil-may-care and fuck-it-all; his voice is filled with grit and power. The kudos to Jim Dickinson keep on comin’ with his decision to bring it Edward “Prince Gabe” Kirby to play alto sax on “Nightclub Jitters.” Kirby was a Beale Street fixture for five decades who earned his nickname because someone told him he played trumpet like the angel Gabriel. . When the Yankee Clipper was asked why he consistently played so hard, he replied, “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time. They may not have done as well in the charts as they might have if they’d totally sold out, but they made a greater contribution to music by remaining true to their blessedly human flaws. “Valentine” was a song pulled out of the reject pile at the last minute because Warner wanted another track to comply with the running time paradigms of the day, and the less-than-enthusiastic performance reflects that. ( Log Out / Even the demos they cut as a three-piece show how playful they could be; the two versions of Westerberg’s anti-TV screed “Kick It In” demonstrate how they could give a song a facelift on a whim, playing it straight on the first demo and adding bongos and more guitar textures to the second. "It lands in that sweet spot where technology, team, craft, chops, guts, attitude, ideas, creativity and some major label money all intersected at the … James Brown & The Famous Flames – Live at the Apollo, Update on Life, International Relations and the American Boycott, Book Review: Sleeping with Patty Hearst by Mary Lambeth Moore, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements, King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King - Classic Music Review, Fleetwood Mac - Future Games - Classic Music Review, The Kinks - Face to Face - Classic Music Review, Blur - The Great Escape - Classic Music Review (Britpop Series), The Kinks - Come Dancing - Classic Music Review, Frank Sinatra - In the Wee Small Hours - Classic Music Review. Pleased to Meet Me was the sound of the Replacements trying for once. April 18, 2020. With rare recordings featuring guitarist Bob Stinson and previously unreleased songs, the collection shines new light on the beloved indie-rock band’s career turning point. Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? The Replacements | Pleased to Meet Me-Deluxe Edition | (Rhino/Sire) 4 out of 5 stars. Having now reviewed three Replacements albums and listened to all the others, I can safely say there never was nor should there have ever been a perfect Replacements album. Well, yeah, unless you’re the girl trapped under a hundred-and-eighty pounds of dead weight. In spite of some über-Eighties, ultra-reverberated production (which still sounds better than their next album, Don’t Tell a Soul), the record was the band’s last moment of greatness. At the end of the song, I’ll say to the band, “That was real nice, boys. “IOU NOTHING,” penned Iggy, which Westerberg thought “was the coolest thing in the world.” (Mehr) While fans may interpret that act as cold rather than cool, it helped Westerberg clarify the attitude of an artist towards admirers: if you don’t maintain a healthy distance, you run the risk of letting them define you and deflect you from your artistic trajectory. Like Lennon after the “more popular than Jesus” brouhaha, Westerberg had to defend the song repeatedly in interviews; unlike The Beatles, The Replacements were not the most popular band in the history of the universe. Much better version—the lead guitar is ripping. This review can also be found on my blog. Oddly enough, Westerberg’s defense was pretty solid—he wrote about suicide because it was happening and no one seemed to give a damn. Imhotep was bankrolled by the pharaoh Djoser; Michelangelo by Pope Julius II; Shakespeare was bound the 3rd Earl of Southhampton. “I can’t mean it every night,” admitted Westerberg, meeting Rieger’s eyes. Why are you sabotaging your own songs?”. When you said iTunes, I went and searched the files and found the Hoboken concert. Compare that to the orientation of Mr. Westerberg, as captured in Bob Mehr’s Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements. Later in the chapter covering Pleased to Meet Me, producer Jim Dickinson recalled that “When we started, ‘art’ was a word he wouldn’t let me use . The Replacements Pleased To Meet Me. There’s your superficial tourist take; now we’ll hear from one of the natives. Speaking of artists who weren’t particularly fan-friendly, Alex Chilton certainly had more than his fill of professional management demanding he shape himself into a pop idol during his years with The Box Tops, moving on to start a band that would be as widely acclaimed and as commercially unsuccessful as The Replacements. Up in the skyway. https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/the-replacements/pleased-to-meet-me Replacements fans are not horrible drunks and screw-ups. Its release as the lead single—a pretty questionable decision from any perspective—has been blamed for the weaker-than-anticipated sales of Pleased to Meet Me. The Replacements turned out to be one of the best bands to never have a Top 20 single or Top 20 album—pretty solid evidence that the sellout wasn’t much of a sellout. Westerberg’s vocal starts out as if someone had nudged him out of a snooze, and remains a low-volume, low-energy effort throughout. By the way, do you know what the “R” stands for? As luck would have it, Kirby passed away a few weeks after the recording sessions, so I’m hoping he went to heaven and challenged Gabriel to a cutting contest. Shortly after a particularly disastrous Replacements performance, Russ Rieger, the head honcho of their management company, paid Westerberg a visit: The next day, at the band’s hotel, Rieger got into a heated discussion with Westerberg, telling him, “This car-crash mentality is something you have to move away from. There are lots of versions of “Can’t Hardly Wait” without strings, as well as versions without horns. Channeling the guitar through a Leslie speaker gives the song a mid-period Beatles or early-period Who touch, but can’t save what is essentially a poor performance. With dogmatic hard rocker Bob Stinson out of the band, Westerberg felt more comfortable expanding his songwriting playing field with touches of soul, folk and (most noticeably) cocktail hour accompaniment. … Then again, the Replacements don't make sense as a success story, so the failure of the gleaming, glistening Pleased to Meet Me winds up making its polish kind of heart-rending. Westerberg sounds drunker than usual, straining to hit the notes and failing to achieve any sense of coherence in his phrasing. Pleased to Meet Me was acclaimed by music critics. It was always too cold inside. And now I can deal with that.”. Point of fact, Pleased to Meet Me also has the unique distinction of being the last new album I bought on vinyl in the spring of 1987 before switching over almost exclusively to CDs a month later (though, of course, I returned to purchasing vinyl again before the decade was out). Originally from San Francisco, I am now a French/EU citizen living in Nice. Mehr, Bob. disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. If I were to record this review in a podcast, I’d try to make my voice sound like Edward R. Murrow when delivering that opening sally, but I’ve never been able to chain smoke and my voice is just too damned girly. I’ve often wondered whether the Replacements could have been not only more popular but also a better band if they had been more willing to compromise. I’m not referring to the weather when I tell you that I think Minneapolis is a pretty cool city, and one of the coolest things about it is the Skyway, now consisting of 9.5 miles of second-floor enclosed walkways that connect the commercial and entertainment highlights, from stores to hotels to sports venues. Now you can finally hear how they tried and where they succeeded. . What’s that song? The seminal album Pleased To Meet You from The Replacements was unleashed on a very ravenous audience back in 1987 on Sire Records. What he couldn’t do was fake it. Reading Bob Mehr’s book a few months ago made me lean more in the direction of answering “No” to that question. But mostly I just happen to like the tune, and I think it sounds great. The paradox couldn’t be starker. Pleased to Meet Me should have ended with “Skyway,” but instead we get the producer-dominated “Can’t Hardly Wait.” This not-much-of-a-song had been around for a while, but The Replacements never found a satisfying arrangement. If you gotta go, you wanna go out onstage or fucking.”. The quirky lyrics certainly jibe with the quirky subject of the tribute, at one point “Checkin’ his stash by the trash at St. Mark’s Place,” then “Runnin’ ’round the house, Mickey Mouse and the Tarot cards/Falling asleep with a flop pop video on.” But the most memorable and poignant lyrics are saved for the remarkable chorus, a wish for a different world in which the obscure Mr. Chilton is lifted out of oblivion and into the hearts of children everywhere: Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round The most interesting stuff here is in the Blackberry Way Demos, some of which came out on a previous expanded edition of the album. And he wasn’t willing to put himself on the line emotionally. As for the album: I enjoyed your analysis of side one, but I like side two a lot more than you do. IHateRadiohead September 28th 2015. . . Westerberg met him after yet another disastrous concert in New York; contrarian Chilton thought was The Replacements were great and said he’d love to record with them. A part of them wanted to be hugely popular, but a part of them didn’t. Please try again later. Though not all of Dickinson’s enhancements worked out, hiring Steve Douglas was a masterstroke. The first seven of these demos represent the last recordings made by all four original members of The Replacements. In today’s world, painters sell out to gallery owners, authors to publishing houses and musicians to media companies. When he sings, “I’m the boy they can’t ignore/For the first time in my life, I’m sure,” he knows that all the attention he’s receiving now is as utterly impersonal as the lack of attention paid to him in his brief existence. The producer and Memphis mainstay entered the picture after abortive demo… ( Log Out / © Copyright 2021 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. ... Top review from United Kingdom There was a problem filtering reviews right now. But sometime after recording their beloved Tim album, Paul Westerberg decided they ought to grow up a little, the group parted ways with founding guitarist Bob Stinson, and the ‘Mats became self-aware. Rarely in the annals of music history has an album cover said so much. On the whole, I think Jim Dickinson’s contributions to music and production have made the world a better place. They were even uncomfortable playing “I’ll Be You” when it was a minor hit. .” The cause behind the failure to connect isn’t about physical separation or even class in and of itself, but the separation caused by the shame of perceiving himself to be “less than.” That last verse serves as sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy of personal shaming. I’m in love with that song” several times over a background of acoustic rhythm guitar and uncredited mandolin. While all of the tracks are good they aren't all great, as "Let It Be" and "Tim" were. Jim Dickinson took over and added horns in all the wrong places and (gasp) strings to a song that simply couldn’t handle their weightiness. Even the collection’s rough mixes — usually the most over larded part of a box set — offer new insights. Pressed by Allied Record Company which differs from the Specialty Records Corporation pressing Pleased To Meet Me. Eight of the tracks feature some of Stinson’s last recordings with the band, and his whiplash snarls on “I.O.U.,” rockabilly shredding “Time Is Killing Us,” and tasteful accents on “Valentine” show what the album could have been. In many ways Pleased to Meet Me is the most mature of the Replacements albums; they're no longer the drunk, immature kids of their early records (instead they're just drunk), nor do the songs contain the youthful exuberance that Let It Be and Tim held. What takes the song to another level is the fade, where Westerberg repeats the line “I’m in love. It took some doing, but I did find some Mud Boy stuff on YouTube, and his production was spot-on: roots music perfection. And it wasn’t just Paul. They were contrarians right from the start. 'Pleased to Meet Me' is considered the 'sell-out' album but really it sounds like a slightly more buffed up and moderately less consistent 'Tim'; I still like it a fair deal, the curveball tracks in particular ('Nightclub Jitters' and 'Skyway') do an excellent job of breaking up the track flow and stop monotony from their typical sound setting in. Independent music reviewer on altrockchick.com and 50thirdand3rd.com. Douglas spends most of the time in minimalist mode, strengthening the bottom, but when he finally gets his place in the sun (after the countdown pause in the middle and on the fade), his wild solos sync perfectly with the drunken exuberance of the band. Westerberg hated the strings as much as I do, confirming my opinion of him as a man with excellent taste in music. To appreciate the importance of the cover, think of Paul Westerberg as the anti-Joe DiMaggio. The Replacements recorded a lot of music around Pleased to Meet Me, much of which came out on various singles and compilations, as well as demos, alternate versions of songs, and tunes that for whatever reason were forgotten in the back of the beer fridge. Writing for Rolling Stone, David Fricke described it as "an album alive with the crackle of conflicting emotions and kamikaze rock & roll fire." But as he spit out the words again to Rieger, it went far deeper. Does anyone name their kid Roscoe anymore? Buddy Holly is too cute for the Replacements to sing about. Mehr describes the cover as “A Faustian handshake between a scruffy rock-and-roller, played by Westerberg, and a bejeweled record company executive.” Given his fuck-the-fans orientation, it is doubtful that Westerberg designed the cover to serve as a heads-up to the fan base, a la “Hey, I’ve sold out to the establishment, but I’m still me.” It is more likely that the cover depicts Westerberg looking at his reflection in the mirror and facing the reality of his situation. Oh by the way, I saw the Replacements in 1991, five months before they called it quits, and I remember that bassline from “Alex Chilton” sticking in my head for days afterwards. Well, that would be my plan until the end of the first bridge when Prince Gabe makes his entrance. Three of those were played in clubs, so they don’t have horns, either. “I’m not giving you 100 percent night after night,” replied Westerberg. This is how music creates atmosphere, and this is one atmosphere I want to experience! Jim Dickinson took over and added horns in all the wrong places and (gasp) strings to a song that simply couldn’t handle their weightiness. While some continue to champion the Replacements' Don't Tell a Soul and All Shook Down exit albums, Pleased to Meet Me truly represents the last vital effort of a great band beginning its descent. Internal strife also wasn’t helping things much. When Westerberg said it to Jim Dickinson (producer), it was a question of trust; as he acted it out with the record company, it was a matter of insecurity. You don’t have to be like them in order to relate to them. I’m a fucking artist. The Replacements were fully committed to being real, and for the most part they managed to stay real despite enormous pressures to engage in pretense. Doh! I also remember “Nightclub Jitters” being played sloppily on purpose, which was funny, but it was still musical. I never liked going to Costco. Where . I bought it years ago and forgot about it. Want more Rolling Stone? The joy generated by that fade makes “Alex Chilton” a leading contender for that all-important song I’m going to play at full blast when this fucking coronavirus shit finally comes to an end. For that reason alone, Minneapolis wins my vote as the most thoughtful and considerate city in the USA. And the country-rocking “Even If It’s Cheap” is a nice addition, if only to hear Tommy Stinson sing the album title: “Pleased to meet me, the pleasure’s all mine, I’ve seen you here before.” The winking nature of the way he sings the verse and the bridge that sounds a bit like “Jesse’s Girl” maybe explain why it didn’t make it much farther. In “Skyway,” Paul Westerberg positions himself on a one-way street below the Skyway, “the place where I’d catch my ride most every day.” His wait coincides with the schedule of a woman who uses the Skyway regularly to get to wherever she’s going, most likely to work. The latest in Rhino’s years-long reissue campaign of the Replacements’ discography, Pleased to Meet Me lacks the revelatory quality of some other releases. This new box set shows how the album could have been even better. The sweet smell that they adore, I think I’d rather smother, Though he’s describing the same deal-with-the-devil dynamic depicted on the cover, to hear him sing it lets you know how strongly he felt it. Meanwhile, Tommy Stinson stares idly at the filthy vinyl floor, occasionally yawning as he plunks gently on his bass and Chris Mars plays no-effort rim shots while keeping his eyes on the faded Longines clock, its hands steadfastly refusing to fast-forward to quitting time, much to his chagrin. I think that underlines the fact that the appeal of the Replacements is not so much their outrageousness as just the fact that they were, in their own way, very genuine. 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Chilton did work with The Replacements on a few demos, but none of the recordings saw the light of day at the time. Which the world sorely needs to be. Sexy, sinuous and sensitive wins out over lean and hungry every time. I’m not a hoodlum. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Let me check something . . The Replacements – Pleased To Meet Me Label: Sire – R2 643412 / 60349784647, Rhino Records (2) – R2 643412 / 60349784647 Pleased to Meet Me … Album Review, Altrockchick, Music Review. Yeah, it’s a pretty good song when the Mats just let it flail. Nelson Rockefeller died “of an apparent heart attack.” Now that is fake news. Figuring that she would never lower herself to walk the streets, he decides to take the elevator up to the Skyway: Oh, then one day, I saw you walkin’ down that little one-way I’ve been cooped up in the house too long. Westerberg’s vocal is appropriately weary and tinted with heartache, completely free of any hints of sardonic compromise. Perfection is the most pernicious lie of all, and the quest to achieve perfection is the ultimate fool’s errand. The arrangement is one of blessed simplicity: acoustic guitar enhanced with echoing reverb and just a touch of vibraphone. We want to hear from you! Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. . Musically, it’s easily the tightest song on the album, featuring an exceptionally sensitive and emotionally expansive performance from Westerberg; lyrically, Westerberg does a marvelous job by having his suicidal narrator comment on the indifference that surrounds him while standing on the ledge (“Wind blows cold from the west/I smell coffee, I smell doughnuts for the press”) as opposed to reciting a long litany of grievances or delving into excessive self-pity. As it turns out, this was the last time they could still shoot for the stars and seem like their scrappy selves and, in many ways, it was the last true Replacements album. Case in point Pleased to Meet Me, the only album Minneapolis’ The Replacements recorded as a trio. Audio CD. The Replacements' 'Pleased to Meet Me' box set shows new depth to the band's last great album. That’s what he wanted out of the Replacements. The music is presented in a 12 x 12 hardcover book loaded with dozens of rarely seen photos along with a detailed history of the Pleased To Meet Me era written by Bob Mehr, who authored The New York Times bestseller, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements. When I hear Westerberg sing, “Gallo or Muscatel, either one would be just swell,” I think, “Disgusting!” And when I hear him categorize all red wine into a single bucket like there’s no difference between Gamay, Pinot and Grenache, I think, “The man’s an idiot.” In any case, the song doesn’t feel quite right to me—they seem to be rocking without a whole lot of underlying commitment and it comes through as “forced enthusiasm.” Given my resistance to this song, those of you who are less anal about wine are free to provide an alternative point of view. In Pleased to Meet Me, Bill Sullivan sets out to explain what makes us, well, us. “That” is the simple truth that nearly every artist in history has at one time or another sold out to the (usually) men with the money. I went to a Twins game when they were still in the Metrodome (horrid place) and it was unlike any experience I’d ever had in a ballpark—everyone seemed to be so delighted to be there, rooting for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame kind of vibe. . Speaking of degrees of shame, Westerberg recorded this alone, early in the morning before his mates had recovered from the nightly bender, because he didn’t want them to see him as soft. He could live with drunken insouciance or bored incompetence, so long as it was real. After he sees the girl walking high up in the Skyway, he turns his attention to his appearance: “In my stupid hat and gloves . By the end of the session, he was calling himself an ‘artist.’” Westerberg had always resisted such an elitist label, but by the end of the sessions he admitted, ” . Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. I owe him my best.” DiMag was the ultimate professional, giving it his all even when his body howled in protest, even when he would have rather skipped the doubleheader and stayed in his New York hotel residence bonking Marilyn Monroe. Learn how your comment data is processed. Ladies with delicate skin like mine can download a map of the Skyway system when preparing for a visit and work out how to avoid interactions with sub-zero temperatures or breath-sucking heat and humidity. Year in Review: So, How Was Your 2020, Nile Rodgers? . As it turns out, this was the last time they could still shoot for the stars and seem like their scrappy selves and, in many ways, it was the last true Replacements album. The key to interpreting the song lies in what appears to be a throwaway line in the first verse. yep . Songs about suicide, but I like side two a lot more than you.! Me ' box set shows how the album where he just didn ’ t be drunk enough on. 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