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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you will dare, I will dare!
Damn, man. Albums don't get any closer to perfect than this one.
"Let it Be" is so dead-on, it makes me want to cry. It's deeply satisfying, even as it throws curves at you from all sides. What kind of punk band opens their album with a pop song? What kind offers blistering hardcore, then slows the tempo and throws in a piano? What kind captures teendom...
Published on May 10, 2004 by M. Casarino

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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the 'Mats themselves, a mixed bag
For those of us hoping that the Ryko/Rhino would give the Replacements the same treatment they gave Elvis Costello, LET IT BE and their other reissues are something of a disappointment.

The sound is great, no question. But there are two main shortcomings. One of which has rightly been noted already: there is too much wasted room on these discs. With all the...
Published on April 30, 2008 by srellek


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you will dare, I will dare!, May 10, 2004
By 
M. Casarino (Wilmington, DE United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Damn, man. Albums don't get any closer to perfect than this one.
"Let it Be" is so dead-on, it makes me want to cry. It's deeply satisfying, even as it throws curves at you from all sides. What kind of punk band opens their album with a pop song? What kind offers blistering hardcore, then slows the tempo and throws in a piano? What kind captures teendom better than John Hughes ever did (and Hughes is the MAN) with "Sixteen Blue?" Who else could make a punk mantra from the lines "Seen your video/You don't wanna know?" And who would end an album with a solo acoustic song - except that's no acoustic, it's a beautifully distorted Fender?
"Let it Be" is a truly transcendent album. The individual songs are all magnificent - not a sour track, or even a sour moment, among them - but there's something more. It creates its own energy, its own aura. These kids were making music in their early 20s that not only sounds brand-new and timeless, but it still speaks to this balding 33-year-old.
So much post-punk, including some work by the 'Mats, was and is monstrously overhyped. "Let it Be" cannot be hyped enough. It can't be labeled, either. It's music, rock and roll. In a legacy of outstanding and important albums by the Replacements and Westerberg, "Let it Be" is the best - which makes it one of the best of all time.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't get much better than this, December 31, 2005
By 
Truly one of the greatest American rock bands of the 1980s, the Replacements spent much of their career just under the radar of the consciousness of the mainstream. While the band built up a loyal following throughout the Reagan years, the 'Mats never broke through the way other college favorites like REM or The Red Hot Chili Peppers did. While the band offered some of the best music of the decade and while they were later signed to a major label and even appeared on Saturday Night Live, true recognition and praise eluded them in their day. But while the band never managed to enjoy a real cross-over hit with the mainstream, they remained a cult favorite throughout their existence.

The `Mats early albums boasted raucous punk that was authentic and memorable, but a far cry away from the best work the band would offer. While the Minneapolis quartet's first three releases "Sorry Ma, I forgot to take out the Trash," (1981) "Stink" EP (1982) and "Hootenanny" (1983) showed much promise, it was the band's fourth album "Let it Be," (1984) that saw the band reach their full potential. The Replacements "Holy Trinity" of albums, "Let it Be," "Tim," (1985) and "Pleased to Meet Me" (1987) saw singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg blossom as a writer, churning out his most memorable work.

While "Let it Be" has the punk aesthetics of its predecessors, the songs are more refined and crafted. While "Let it Be" isn't overtly commercial or has any singles that scream "HIT" written on them, the album was up to this point the band's most assessable offering. To get right to the point, "Let it Be" is just a great album. Track after track, each song is memorable and well structured with an infectious hook, killer groove and keen sense of melody. Westerberg, Bob Stinson, (guitar) Tommy Stinson, (bass) and Chris Mars (drums) struck the perfect balance between finely crafted songs and anarchic, unrestrictive punk. The band is loose and hungry, but also meticulous, making sure the album is raw and organic, but without sounding sloppy.

With "Let it Be" Westerberg really honed in as a lyricist. Songs of alienation, dissatisfaction, frustration, and problems with interpersonal relationships are the prevailing themes. And while these are the prevailing themes with many, many bands, Westerberg sounds authentic and the listener can really sympathize with his plight. While he sounds genuinely distraught, he never indulges in self-pity or drains the listener. There is nothing forced or contrived about the feelings he is trying to convey. All the while Westerberg has a real sense of humor as songs like "Tommy gets his Tonsils Out" and "Gary's got a Boner" would suggest.

The opening mid-tempo "I Will Dare" is probably the album's best song, if not the greatest Replacements track ever recorded. Estrangement and unrequited love but with a sense of hope seem to be the prevailing theme. Tommy Stinson's sparse bass over the lush playing of Westerberg, Bob Stinson, and guest guitarist Peter Buck (of REM) make this song a triumph. "Favorite Thing" goes at an almost manic pace and has a real sense of urgency, as Westerberg tells of his affection for the one he loves. "Were Coming Out" may have been a contender for "Hootenanny" as this punk-rocker is somewhat chaotic, but without loosing structure. The light piano offers a nice touch. "Tommy gets his tonsils out" is also reminiscent of the Replacements early work, as this humorous punk number tackles the bassists' fear of going to the dentist. The album takes a complete left turn for the bizarre "Androgynous," a melancholy piano balled dealing with the issue of sexual identity and self-acceptance. A cover of KISS's "Black Diamond" stays pretty true to the original, while giving it a bit of a punk-make-over. Perhaps the most earnest song on the album "Unsatisfied" articulates the frustration one feels with the emptiness of an unfulfilled life. A poke at MTV, the mostly instrumental "Seen Your Video" shows the band cut loose and just rock out. Bob Stinson shows his fee-wheeling skills over this catchy little ditty. The humorous "Gary's Got a Boner" is somewhat like "Tommy gets his tonsils out" and is somewhat reminiscent of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever." A morose plight detailing teenage angst, "Sixteen Blue" is gentle and bittersweet, yet rough-around-the-edges. The almost exclusively guitar closing track "Answering Machine," while very sparse and stripped down, is quite effective. The song's theme, longing frustration, sums up the premise of the album in a nutshell and makes for the perfect closing number.

Released over twenty years ago, "Let it Be" has aged quite well. It sounds as good and as poignant today as it did in 1984. The themes of "Let it Be" are timeless. As long as there are humans on the Earth, people will long for companionship and meaning and be unhappy with their life. Bands like Green Day, the Offspring, and countless others owe a lot to the Replacements.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the 'Mats themselves, a mixed bag, April 30, 2008
This review is from: Let It Be (Audio CD)
For those of us hoping that the Ryko/Rhino would give the Replacements the same treatment they gave Elvis Costello, LET IT BE and their other reissues are something of a disappointment.

The sound is great, no question. But there are two main shortcomings. One of which has rightly been noted already: there is too much wasted room on these discs. With all the boots extant from throughout the 'Mats career, there is a literal goldmine of material out there that could have been included to get these timings closer to 80 minutes -- and, more importantly, give a more complete picture of what the Replacements were all about. Without some chunk of concurrent live material, there is something important missing. For those of us lucky to have seen the band live over the years, that void is all the more glaring.

Second, the liner notes are mediocre to downright bad. There are some great bits from Peter Jesperson. The LIB essay is a navel-staring disaster. How anyone could have let that stand as a "tribute" to one of the greatest albums in rock history is beyond me. Again, unlike the gold standard that both Ryko and certainly Rhino had set with their reissues of Costello's work, there is absolutely no input from the artists themselves. No words/thoughts/remembrances from Paul, Tommy, or Chris. And maybe this was their choice. But it certainly makes for a less-than-definitive reissue of this work.

The music does sound great. Bottom line. And I don't mind paying a little more for a great repackaging of important music -- and both Ryko and Rhino have done this very well in the past. Unfortunately, this effort doesn't live up to that same standard.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The material demands a better reissue. Period., June 2, 2008
By 
Bill Wikstrom (Long Island, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Let It Be (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of this band for a long time, so I was understandably looking forward to proper reissues/remasters for at least ten years. Let It Be may be their best sounding disk and most representative of the band's sound. However, aside from unearthed photos - which are poorly placed inside (with text on the photos?!?) - and better sound than earlier issues on compact disc this reissue simply isn't up to snuff.
And Rhino/Ryko are not to blame either. The band has acquired a certain legacy over time and simply deserves much better. First off the bonus track selection is very half-baked. Fans of the band are familiar with their outtakes by now. Let It Be's include "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive" (the best outtake of the bunch stupidly absent), the lyrically alternate version of "Gary's Got A Boner", "Street Girl" (a fine little ditty), the rocking "You Look Like An Adult" (the original version of "Seen Your Video") and a big whoops was the (new) mix of the alternate version of "Sixteen Blue". The same version (did) include Chan Polling of The Suburbs' grand piano through the entire song. A truly beautiful version, and they botched it! Why they included the same version WITHOUT the best part - or at very least a new interesting feature - of the song is simply poor on all counts.

Gina Arnold (author of the pretty decent 'Route 666: On the Road to Nirvana') wrote the liner notes. While sure, it may be sweet and cute for her to recount what it was like to be a Replacements fan twenty years ago (if that's the case for a filling up liner notes why don't a segment of us Replacements fans start sending in our of sweet stories for Tim now?) it doesn't make for definitive liner-notes writing. We still know as much about the album and there's nothing legitimate about why is it's included here in the first place. It has it's place - but not in the liner notes to one of the best albums the 1980's.

Why there was no input from any band member is certainly unfortunate and perhaps even telling. No first hand stories, memories, information of any kind from the band (aside from their ex-manager informing us that the bonus tracks...were outtakes...from the Let It Be sessions). Considering that these reissues have been in the works - or more accurately been touted as "to be released next year" for the past ten years or so - by the time they actually arrive and they don't have the bonus tracks that the fans would hope they'd include or simply expect, it's hard not to wonder what DID in fact take so long? Surely it wasn't the attention to detail. Having said ALL this, it should please a percentage of fans. I'm going to assume that casual fans (do the 'Mats even have casual fans?) of the band should be fine with this reissue.

It's issues (or reissues as it were) like this that prompt illegal trade of this great bands' music and that's not fair to the band or it's fans.

Oh yeah, and the classic iconic cover is now a few shades darker and cropped to boot!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid At All Costs, February 10, 2009
By 
S. Ware (Boothwyn, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Let It Be (Audio CD)
Let me get this out of the way: "Let it Be" by the Replacements is a transcendent album that is easily one of the best of the decade. It's a seminal album, one that would play a huge role in the music that would come in the decade to follow. Anyone even remotely interested in '80s alternative music should seek out "Let it Be," along with Husker Du's "New Day Rising," Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation," and the Pixies' "Surfer Rosa."

Having said that, this isn't so much a review of the music itself as it is the 2008 reissue. Simply put, this is an incredibly lazy reissue, and I'm shocked that so few people have called out Rhino and Rykodisc on it.

To begin with, the highly touted remastered sound is a joke. While I'm sure it's an improvement over the initial CD release, it should be noted that "Let it Be" was already remastered once before in 2002. That release got it right. While the volume was boosted in order to bring it more in line with volume levels of current CDs, it still retained the dynamic range of the original album. In contrast, the Rhino/Rykodisc release compressed the audio, making everything sound flat.

A great example of this is the opening of "I Will Dare." When the drums kick in on the 2002 version, they're louder than the guitar riff that preceded it, and they sound full and booming as a result. On the Rhino release, everything is the same volume, making those drum hits lack the punch they had on the 2002 release. Even if one were to ignore the lack of dynamic range on this release, I'm still not convinced that this reissue is an improvement. To my ears, the 2002 version sounds crisper and cleaner too.

As if compressed audio wasn't enough, the left and right channels have been inexcusably switched--another sign of just how little attention must have been given to this release. Unbelievably, Rhino/Rykodisc even managed to screw up the cover art, which, for some reason, is now cropped. Between this and their New Order reissues, it's as though Rhino has all but forgotten about quality control. You wouldn't know it now, but there used to be a time when seeing Rhino's logo on the back of an album or box set was a good thing.

Even the added songs are questionable. While they're not bad, there certainly were more b-sides and rarities from this era that could have been included. It's not like there wasn't enough space. Even with the bonus tracks, the album is still under an hour in length.

This release is a mess. While there's no doubt in my mind that everyone should own "Let it Be," I would encourage everyone to track down the now out-of-print 2002 version instead. It may lack liner notes and bonus tracks, but the sound is superior, and ultimately, that's where it counts.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agree with Bill Wikstrom's review and..., June 2, 2008
By 
This review is from: Let It Be (Audio CD)
"I Will Dare", "Unsatisfied" and "Answering Machine" have ALL BEEN EDITED!!!
Small, but significant edits have been made to the tracks. Which changes the identity of the track(s) and the album. "Answering Machine" the beginning has been chopped off. No more Paul count off over buzzing guitar. No more back round fumbling before the start of "I Will Dare", in turn the track sounds more confident (for a lack of a better word). The backround after "Androgynous" are not only edited but also now bleed over onto the front (beginning) of "Black Diamond". Which sounds like a careless post-production boo-boo. But being intimately familiar with this album, it now sounds like it's someone else's album.

For something so well-established, it just seems pretty foolish for a revisionist history lesson as far as ANY editing of the original album tracks.

Glaring omissions aside ("Who's Gonna Take Us Alive", "Street Girl", "Sixteen Blue" - without Chan Polling's piano on the entire track (!!) which also had a very nice guitar feedback ending courtesy of Bob - now gone (as if it was never even there). And simply uninteresting, very uninforming and self-indulgent liner notes. The purchase is fine for the photos (with staples in the middle of frames) and beefier sound. Otherwise, it's just a bad re-issue which is unfortunate as it's been in the works (the idea of a reissue at very least) for a while now.

Will there be a box set forthcoming for all of the ommisions?
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Was there a better 80's rock band than the Mats?, July 28, 2000
By 
This review is from: Let It Be (Audio CD)
How this band seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of 80's rock and roll I don't know. It was the Replacements, along with Husker Du and REM, that kept the late 70's-early 80's punk spirit alive until Nirvana forced it down all of our throats again in the 90's. And this was their best album. Clocking in at under 40 minutes, the Mats blitz through 11 songs ranging from pop-rock ("I Will Dare", "Favorite Thing") to punk ("We're Comin' Out") to ballads ("Unsatisfied", "Sixteen Blue"). Perhaps the most redeeming quality of Let It Be is its healthy sense of humor. A straight up cover of Kiss - "Black Diamond" is one of the album's finer moments. Thrashing guitar carries "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out" and "Gary's Got a Boner", easily the most fun songs on the album. Paul Westerberg solidifies himself as one of the best songwriters of his generation - both for his tongue-in-cheek pop songs and the inciteful ballads. Lyrics don't have to be deep or metaphoric, just honest. This is probably one of the 10 best rock albums ever made, and easily one of the most underrated. The Replacements are a band that every rock fan should discover.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable alterntaive/indie rock, November 7, 2003
I just finished listening to Let it Be about three minutes ago and decided I needed to write this review and let everyone know how great of an album this is.
The Replacements were one of the most inspired and ambitious rock bands ever. All of the songs on Let it Be are diverse, emotional, rocking, and catchy. There are 11 songs total, and all of them are perfect. Period.
The album starts with "I will dare", a very swingy, bouncy, and catchy rocker that features a nice guitar solo by none other than REM's Peter Buck. The next song, "Favorite Thing" continues in the same vain as "I will dare" and is another catchy, pop-rock gem. Just when you're about to say to yourself, "oh, this is going to be an album full of nice, catchy pop-rock songs," the next track, "We're comin' out" hits you like a brick. This is a hardcore punk song that wouldn't sound too out of place on a Minor Threat record...oh yeah, except for the jazz breakdown in the middle. The Replacements like to do stuff like that. After "We're comin' out" is another fast, snotty punk song called "Tommy gets hit tonsils out", which seems to be about an evil dentist...or something. After hearing this song, you may think to yourself, "oh, ok, I get their gimmick now. The Replacements are pretty much a punk band who can do both hardcore and poppier punk," but then you're hit with "Androgynous", a song unlike any of the first four. This one features only a piano, sandblocks, and Paul Westerburg's impassioned vocals. This quieter, emotional performance is followed by, of all things, a KISS cover (see why I love the Replacements now?). They cover the song "Black Diamond" and make it much better than the original.
You get the idea, right? I don't need to explain the songs anymore. The only album I can really compare Let it Be to would be the Clash's London Calling. The Replacements are an amazing band that makes catchy, emotional, inspired, unpretentious rock and are for any fan of alternative (Husker Du, Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana) or punk rock (Ramones, Clash, Buzzcocks, Descendents). I give this album my highest recommendation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied, September 5, 2002
The first of the Replacements' perfect triology of post-adolescent angst backed by some of the fiercest, freshest and most potent rock (even on the ballads) since the Stones' 68-72 heyday. Acoustic, electric, full band, solo, fuzzbomb guitars, even "Chopsticks"-level piano ("Androgynous"), a little jazz and R.E.M.'s Pete Buck on mandolin...Paul Westerberg may have been drunk, but he certainly wasn't wasted, or even jaded, when he lay down these 11 tracks with his pout-scout troop of Minneapolis misfits.
In an alternate alternative universe, this was "Nevermind," every song a hit, everything that followed stepping carefully in its sneakerprints. Audacious enough to be named after a Beatles album (naturally, the one that everyone hates) and pledge allegiance to Kiss ("Black Diamond" is the only cover on an official Placemats record, rather remarkable given their tendency to maul everything from Abba to ZZ Top in concert), "Let It Be" is ground zero, the tipping point and "Please Please Me" for college-rock, emo, grunge, pop-punk, alt.country, Americana, and every single note ever played by Wilco, the Goo Goo Dolls and especially Ryan Adams, among other flailing idolizers who got their degrees from Westerberg High, just like Veronica and her friends in "Heathers."
Sure, "Tim" and "Pleased To Meet Me" are equally essential, as is "Color Me Impressed" and "Beyond Your Reach" from "Hootenanny" and "I'll Be You" from "Don't Tell A Soul" (their second most perfect song after this set's "Unsatisfied"), but if you only want to own one Replacements' album, this is it, from the call-to-skinny-arms of "I Will Dare" and "We're Comin' Out" to the primal scream of "Answering Machine" that was too powerful for the band to compete, so they let Paul sing it appropriately alone, from the goofball giddiness of "Tommy Got His Tonsils Out" (now there's a rockstar medical condition only Britney or Hanson could appreciate) and "Gary's Got A Boner" (ibid) to the keening wistfulteria of "Sixteen Blue," "Let It Be" proves that four guys in a garage can create great art that doesn't sound anything like a typical retroweenie garage band (note to Strokes, Hives, Vines and White Stripes: Austin Powers is not an ideal role model).
Wish it included a few bonus tracks, like maybe the Alex Chilton-produced demos for "Tim" that featured a speedmetal take of "Kiss Me On The Bus," acoustic and electric versions of "Can't Hardly Wait" and the unfairly neglected "Nowhere Is My Home," but there's something to be said for getting it so right the first time and, er, letting it be.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect! Buy It Today!, November 28, 1999
By 
Evan Streb (N. Canton, OH United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Let It Be (Audio CD)
One of the greatest albums of all time. Not a single dull moment (yes both "Gary" and "Tommy" ROCK! so don't you dare call them immature). And Paul Westerberg's writing is at his all time high here with not one but THREE of the greatest ballads ever ("Sixteen Blue", "Answering Machine" and "Unsatisfied", which I guess is more of a rock song than a ballad, but can't a guy generalize? ). Oh and another really cool part: The Mats become probably the only band in history to successfully merge jazz and punk: RIGHT in the middle of the ragefest "We're Comin' Out" they all of a sudden slow down and then this really swingly piano part comes in and everyone snaps their fingers! It's a swing section that's played PERFECTLY straight. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW COOL THAT IS! Then it starts speeding up again and the guitars start thrashing all over the place with Paul screaming "We're Coming OOUUUUUTTTTTT! " A great album. Easily in the top three for albums of the 80s (along with Murmur and Paul's Boutique). Buy it today!
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