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Let It Be
The Replacements, 1984, Twin/Tone Records



Produced by Steve Fjelstad, Paul Westerberg, and Peter Jesperson at Blackberry Way Studios, Minneapolis.

The Replacements' final studio album for the independent lable Twin/Tone, before jumping to Sire in 1985.

Rumors had once flown that the album was originally to be produced by Peter Buck of R.E.M.; however, when Buck came to Minneapolis, he found the band unready to make an album. He did, according to Westerberg, help the band arrange some of the songs, particularly "I Will Dare," on which he later played.

This is the first Mats album to feature piano, mandolin, and lap-steel guitar. Westerberg played all the instruments on "Androgynous" (piano and sandblocks), as well as "Answering Machine" (if you notice, there are no drums and only one guitar; the final percussion apparently are spoons).

This is the Mats' critical breakthrough, on which Paul Westerberg's genius truely begins to shine. From the country-flavored "I Will Dare" (a sort of Rosetta Stone for "Alt-Country"/"No Depression," channeling the guitars of groups like the Flying Burrito Bros. into the energy of punk), to the heartbreaking, soul-shaking twelve-string and lap-steel ache of "Unsatisfied," to the anthem of lonliness "Answering Machine" ("try and free a slave of ignorance / try and teach a whore about romance / how do I say I'm lonely/to an answering machine? / A message is very clean / oh, I hate your answering machine"). This is a must have for anyone who wants to understand Elliott Smith, Wilco, Pete Yorn, but also Nirvana, the Strokes, Green Day, or any other band that came post-1987.

This album is often picked as one of the greatest of the 1980s (though sometimes that goes to their next effort and first major-lable album Tim).

And this, friends, will be my final post on E2 for a long long time. Fitting that it should be this band and this album.