The Replacements The Sire Years on Numbered 4LP Box Set
Bookend to The 'Mats Twin/Tone Years Box Set featuring Tim (1985), Pleased To Meet Me (1987), Don't Tell A Soul (1989) & All Shook Down (1990)
Along with Prince and Hüsker Dü, The Replacements put Minneapolis on the rock map in the 1980s. Among America's greatest alternative acts of the last two decades, the 'Mats rose from chaotic noise-makers to polished craftsmen, leaving at least three unqualified masterpieces in their wake. In a perfect world, Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased To Meet Me would have all gone platinum - but then again, endearing imperfection was always a hallmark of this band's music.
The Replacements formed in the wake of the punk explosion of the late-70s. Their anarchic stage shows had earned them considerable notoriety in local clubs. Indie label Twin/Tone took note and signed the quartet for their first four releases, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981), Stink EP (1982), Hootenanny (1983) and Let It Be (1984) which earned The Replacements a place on the roster at Sire Records. It was there that the 'Mats released their final four albums - Tim (1985), Pleased to Meet Me (1987), Don't Tell A Soul (1989) and All Shook Down (1990) - collected here in the new limited edition 4LP box set The Sire Years.
Tim was the last album to feature the band's legendary original lineup. A departure from the raw, punk-rock aesthetic that dominated their Twin/Tone releases, Tim showcases Westerberg's gift for songcraft with the uptempo rock anthems "Bastards Of Young" and "Left Of The Dial," the poignant ballad "Here Comes A Regular," and the clever lyricism of "Little Mascara." Follow-up Pleased To Meet Me was recorded in Memphis, TN with producer Jim Dickinson whose association with Big Star attracted the band. Memorable tracks include "Alex Chilton," "The Ledge," "I Don't Know," "Red Red Wine" and "Can't Hardly Wait."
For Don't Tell A Soul, the screaming, yelling and falling to pieces drunken brothers added sleepy melancholy, violins, and waves of layered guitar, something that sounded like a "real" recording and a bit if not a lot of personal vulnerability to the mix. Songs like "Achin' to Be," the haunted "Rock 'n' Roll Ghost," the sweetly self-mythologizing "Talent Show," and "I'll Be You," are among the best of their era. Produced with Scott Litt, All Shook Down started out as a Westerberg solo album, but was eventually released as the Replacements seventh and final album. That also explains the album's many guest artists which include John Cale, Benmont Tench, Terry Reid and Johnette Napolitano.