We Are The Sons Of No One

In 1989 The Replacements released their final album, Don’t Tell A Soul, a record that was recorded in LA, buffed up in the mixing process and had the aim of making Sire a little money from a band a seemed to sabotage their career at every opportunity. Founding guitarist Bob Stinson (above right) had been replaced by Slim Dunlap. Chris Lord- Alge mixed it, adding some late 80s West Coast guitar band sheen and a big drum sound to give it in Lord- Alge’s words ‘a three dimensional, radio ready sound’. The songs contain some typical Paul Westerberg moments- Talent Show, We’ll Inherit The Earth, Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghost, Achin’ To Be- but it sounds (and always has) a bit flat and lifeless, songs for a teen TV show. Westerberg was trying a little too hard to write hits and then shrank away from the record when the released mix was aimed at giving him exactly that. I know there are people who love it and it must have been popular in the US where single I’ll Be You made number fifty- one on the Billboard chart but it’s my least favourite Replacements album. It sounds defeated, and not in a celebration of the underdog way. Having said that, I must have listened to it a fair amount because re-listening to it this week, I knew all the songs and what was coming next.

The album has now been re-released in a new form across four discs including a live show, outtakes and unreleased songs (with some from a late night drinking session with Tom Waits) and Don’t Tell A Soul in a completely different mix by producer Matt Wallace, closer to what Westerberg intended at the time. It’s definitely rawer and more immediate, bits of studio chatter intact, the band sound closer to the mic and less smothered by the late 80s. This one stands out, a song for drumming your fingers on the steering wheel to, heading off down the road with the stereo turned up loud, singing along to Westerberg’s outsider words ‘we’ll inherit the earth/we don’t want it/ it’s been ours since birth/what you doing on it?’

We’ll Inherit The Earth (Matt Wallace Mix)

But then go further back into the band’s back catalogue and you’ll find albums that need no re-polishing, no redux versions and no excuses made for them. 1984’s Let It Be is wall to wall, mid 80s brilliance, their final album for indie label Twin/Tone. A year later they made their first for Sire (and last with Bob Stinson on guitar) a record called Tim, and within its grooves among other moments you’ll find Kiss Me On The Bus, a genuinely great teen romance song, and this, a song that has underdog punk swagger and speaker rattling guitars to spare.

Bastards Of Young