Get ready, because things are going to get loud. But then they’re going to chill out a bit and you might wonder if we’re talking about the same band all in one post. Underappreciated, underrated, under a drunken haze for all live performances….The Replacements. But really, while this band never reached commercial success in their day, they are now regarded as pioneers of alternative rock.
Formed in 1979 in Minneapolis, The Replacements started out Bob Stinson, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars jamming in a living room, soon to be joined by Paul Westerberg. Taking cues from Badfinger, Big Star, The Clash and The Jam, but not diving too far into the hardcore stuff, one could call their debut album approachable punk. Their second release, Hootenanny, saw the band experiencing growing pains as they sought to move away from the loud and fast signature of punk and evolve their songs into the sound we now associate with alternative rock.
Paul Westerberg’s vision for the band led them to songs that embodied the more sincere contradictions of youth with heavier topics right alongside emotional immaturity.
Let It Be is regarded as their finest effort, but later albums featured songs delving into Pop-Rock territory. As they outgrew the unabashed enthusiasm that energized their earlier records it can be argued that their freshness faded. However, they leave a permanent mark of influence on all those that came after them.
If you like: R.E.M., Green Day, Nirvana, Nada Surf, The Lemonheads
Check out: The Replacements (start with Let It Be, continue with Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? compilation and graduate to Sorry Ma! Forgot to Take Out the Trash! and the rest of their albums)
Feeling brave: The Buzzcocks, Pavement, Superchunk, Ryan Adams
AI level: Intermediate