All For Nothing/Nothing For All (two disc set) (Reprise Records)
By: Alex Steininger
The 80's are over, but the legend of The Replacements will live on indefinitely. Paul Westerberg and crew were the inspiration for many of today's modern rock bands, as well as a lot of punk bands today. And now what you all have been waiting for, a "greatest hits" album of Replacements material, as well as a b-sides/outtakes album for the collectors. All For Nothing is the "would-have-been, could-have-been, should-have-been hits" spanning their Sire Records career. Nothing For All is the rarities and b-sides that have only been previously available on bootlegs, DJ only promo discs, and other rarities. And these are the songs that collectors of 'Mats material will be eager to jump at. Although this two CD set only spans their career on Sire Records (All For Nothing takes four songs from each Sire release), this is still a wonderful collection to hear all the songs you feel in love with while the Replacements were still together.
ALL FOR NOTHING
Classics like "Left of the Dial", "Kiss Me on the Bus", "Bastards of Young", "Alex Chilton", and "Achin' To Be" fill up this disc, to make it the treat it is. "Left Of The Dial" brings you Paul's soft, emotional voice combined with passionate lyrics and pop hooks that would put a lot of modern day bands to shame. The immense energy these guys project is amazing. The guitar keeps the action ever present with straight ahead rock that hits you in the side of the head and then jumps into some pop hooks that play with your mind. "Bastards of Young" showcases the power of combining well-written lyrics with powerful rock and pop hooks to keep the mind focused. "Alex Chilton" is led by Paul Westerberg's powerful vocals that can go from drunken chaos to emotional pop melodies that bring you to the edge of your seat and almost make you want to cry. "I'll Be You" is The Replacements' biggest hit, spending a few nights in the Top 40. The music is enjoyable, the lyrics are passionate and make you think, and the times are fun. It's still a mystery why The Replacements are more of an underground cult favorite than a multi-platinum band that takes years off at a time to come back and sell out 25,000 person venues. And with brilliantly written songs like "Talent Show" you know something went terribly wrong. If The Replacements were a twenty something band in current times, there is no doubt in my mind that this CD would knock bands like The Wallflowers, No Doubt, Bush, and others right on their asses. "Merry Go Round" brings us to The Replacements final album. Or rather Paul's "first" solo album with former Replacements members playing on the record. Apparently The Replacements had broken up, and Paul wanted to do a solo album. But the record company wanted it released under the name of The Replacements. Or so the rumors go. The song is still as brilliant as songs in the past, and the lyrics are as intense as ever. Emotions are high, and chaos is still present. That's what made The Replacements brilliant. Other classics like "Here Comes A Regular", "Skyway", "Can't Hardly Wait", "Sadly Beautiful" and "Someone Take the Wheel" are also on ALL FOR NOTHING. But that's not all! We still have NOTHING FOR ALL to go through! The true gem of this package!
NOTHING FOR ALL
Starting off this disc is the Tim version of "Can't Hardly Wait". A bit sloppier, and louder. It has much more of a rock feeling to it, and less pop. It sounds like a very drunk band trying to pull of a delicate pop song, but instead creating a masterpiece of rock. "Beer for Breakfast" is a Replacements treasure for the sheer fact that Paul isn't bleeding his heart out through his lyrics. This time he's just having fun and spitting out whatever comes to mind. A nice rock n' roll track sure to get heavy rotation in your CD player. A quick, slop rock song sure to make it's way into the Replacements history book. "Till We're Nude" is a fast tempo bar rock take. Easy to play when your drunk, and sounds good to others who are drunk. Loud noise, lots of fun, and pure rock n' roll. No wonder this didn't make an official release. It's not a serious song that you would expect from a brilliant mind like Paul Westerberg. Rather, it's just a band having fun doing what they love. "Date to Church" has the drunken frat boy sing along going on in the back. This song is truly a mess. The Replacements at their weakest, but still good. Collectors will eat this up, taking into consideration the value this recording has. It's a whole new side of The Replacements. "Cruella Deville" is a cover of the classic Disney song. Lounge jazz meets rock n' roll. This would have made a nice touch to any Replacements album, adding a nice contract between fun and serious. But since it never made an album, you'll have to rush to this disc to pick it up. Don't pass this one up. It's a keeper. "Portland" sounds like a track the Replacements would have created in the later part of their careers. A nice, soft pop tune sure to beat straight to your heart. I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. Why this never made an official release, I don't know. "Like A Rolling Pin" is done to the tune of Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." Rumor has it, in the middle of this song Bob Dylan (who was recording at the same studio as The 'Mats) came in while Paul was singing this song. Paul continued on, not even realizing Bob was right behind him. Paul even tries to sound like Bob on this one. A lot rougher on the vocals, but this song will make you smile. "All Shook Down" closes out this disc with just Paul on an acoustic guitar. Surly an outtake Paul wouldn't want you to hear, even though it's great. But wait! No 'Mats disc would be complete without some rock n' roll ending. So watch out for a hidden track. Seventeen rarities (and a hidden track), you can't go wrong with this disc!
Over fifty-five minutes of music on each disc, and a total of 33 songs. Anyone that passes this CD up is a fool! Even though it excludes all the Twin-Tone work, it's still a fabulous album. If only a Replacements reunion was possible. Go get this double CD today, and feel the energy only The 'Mats could create. A definite A+!
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