The Replacements were the great punk band of the '80s.They invented the gags that became indie-rock orthodoxy:the '70s nerd-wear,the Kiss and Black Sabbath covers,the shifts from blustery feedback into tender melody.These scruffy Catholic boys from Minneapolis drank too much beer and wore too much eyeliner to fit in with the hardcore crowd,but they defined a new brat-punk sublime.Bob Stinson's virtuosic junk guitar outraced Chris Mars's tumbling drums,and if Bob's little brother Tommy never learned much bass beyond the elementary hardcore thunderhud,he made up by blossoming into the all-time indie-rock pinupp boy.The Replacements' main attraction was Paul Westerberg,resident bard.Whether the Apostle Paul was screaming "Gimme Noise" or wrapping his Kool-corroded lungs around the melody of  "Unsatisfied," he spoke in the vice of a true parking-lot sage."Let It Be" is the 'Mats' testament,from the stirring psychodramas of  "I Will Dare" and "Answering Machine" to the lovely cover photo of Tommy picking his nose.The guitars careen in search of cheesburgers and cigarettes,while Westerberg stumbles from Kiss and Ted Nugent tributes to the twelve-string ballad "Sixteen Blue" ("You wonder to yourself if you might be gay") and the desperately infatuated "Favorite Thing" ("Wanna be something/Wanna be anything").Oozing both belligerence and compassion,"Let It Be" reaches deep into the pop-culture garbage disposal and belches proudly in the face of fear.


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