This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Replacements

With the upcoming Replacements box set supposedly coming out this year (I know Rhino is usually good about this shit, but if you expect the 'Mats to doing anything on time, you're not the kind of person who would like them), I thought I would share my favorite of their unreleased tracks.

The story of this song goes something like this: the two clashing forces within the band were songwriter/vocalist Paul Westerberg and lead guitarist Bob Stinson. For all his sarcastic bravado, Westerberg had (and largely still has) a knack for introspective songs that cut a swath right to the frustration that's the result of inexperience and youthful alienation. Stinson, on the other had, was the lusty rock 'n' roller who wanted to kick ass and take names. The tension between and amalgamation of both these factors led to some of the most thrilling rock music ever made.

During the recording sessions for their second album, Hootenanny!, Westerberg brought in a song called "You Got Married One Night." He played it for the guys, who stared at him blanky. Stinson's reply was reportedly, "Save it for your solo record, Paul. That ain't the Replacements." It was demoed for the album, but never released or recorded up to the standards of the rest of the songs for the ramshackle, lo-fi Hootenanny!. It's quite possible that this is the only take of the song ever recorded.

Listening to it today, the conflict between the two men is more apparent than anywhere else, as Westerberg expectorates the words in a hoarse croon while playing a highly melodic, balladic guitar line. Then about 1:58 in, you can hear Stinson start trying to "rock it up." I imagine both men glaring at each other in the squalid wharehouse studio, each trying to upstage the other.

Lyrically, it shows Westerberg growing away from his previous rants about hippies and drug-induced car theft. The similies used at first seem clumsy and obvious, but it soon becomes obvious how insightful they are. Westerberg compares the subject of the song's pending marriage to "a student on vacation waiting for school to start." He paints his or her relationship to their significant other as "a guitar in the hands of some fool who just can't play." The lyrical perspective of a friend being warned about marriage makes me think this song is about the same person as the protagonist of "Little Mascara," a Replacements song about a woman regretting her decision to wed and have kids. In both cases, it seems intially like Westerberg is mocking this woman, but it comes across as the reactionary verbal flailings of a man who's been hurt.

My favorite part of this song is how Westerberg sings it. Even if this song had been destined for Hootenanny!, this was obviously a demo. It was recorded with the knowledge that the general public would never hear it. That's significant when you consider how passionate Westerberg's howlings are. He meant it. Even when it didn't count, he still meant it, singing like he was shoving his heart down the mic cord. It's raggad, hoarse, and he goes off-key several times, but it's one of the most beautiful vocal performances I've ever heard. You feel every word like it was a shot to the chest. It takes so much out of him, it sounds like he's out of breath, and he can;t even finish the line. He meant it so much that singing it exhausted him. I really hope y ou enjoy this song as much as I do, regardless of recording quality.

http://www.mysharefile.com/v/5218600/Replacements_Don_t_Get_Married.Mp3.html

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