Including ‘Left of the Dial’ in my playlist for the Reeling In The Years project over at Sweeping The Nation sent me back to the album it came from: 1985’s “Tim”. There’s a never-to-be-settled pub debate as to which is the best Replacements album. But “Tim”, their first for Sire after moving from Twin Tone and the last one to feature the classic line-up of Paul Westerberg, Chris Mars, Bob and Tommy Stinson, is certainly up there. “Tim” may not be as punk-rock raw as some of its predecessors but it is still snotty, crude, aggressive and bitter – but also shot through with moments of poetic clarity and luminous beauty. Just like the band themselves.
The angry howl of 'Bastards of Young', part-manifesto, part prediction, has come like 'Left of the Dial' to encapsulate the band’s story: “God, what a mess, on the ladder of success / Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung / Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled ...waitin' to be forgotten / We are the sons of no one, bastards of young”. As befits rowdy battlers with drug and alcohol dependencies, the band go through mood swings on the album: loud, raucous rockers in ‘Lay It Down Clown’, romantic dreamers in ‘Swingin’ Party’, immature, taunting jerks in ‘Waitress in the Sky’. However throughout the record Paul Westerberg’s heart-on-the-sleeve, brash yet polished songs match the rock-and-roll attitude. And to close it all the poignant hat-tip to the habitual drinker of ‘Here Comes A Regular’. From here on the band slowly fragmented across three more albums before finally calling it a day in 1991.
Like most of The Replacements back catalogue, “Tim” was re-issued by Rhino in 2008 in a remastered and expanded CD format.
I did upload a couple of songs to Soundcloud but Warner Music Group of which Sire is a subsidiary wouldn't allow this. So as an inferior substitute I thought I would embed the video of 'Bastards of Young' released to accompany the re-issue programme. It's not a very interesting video - just a shot of a speaker whilst the song plays - but at least you could hear the music. However WMG have even disabled the video for embedding. Not very rock 'n' roll.
The Replacements Tim [BUY]