Besterberg: Best of Paul Westerberg
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Like most of the people who will buy this, I got it for the hard-to-find stuff, the b-sides and outtakes, all of which are excellent (Seein' Her, Man Without Ties, Stain Yer Blood, All That I Had, C'mon C'mon C'mon). This leads me to think Westerberg would have been better served by a similar approach to what was used on All for Nothing/Nothing for All, in which there were 2 discs, one of "the best," one of b-sides. This, I think, would tempt newcomers and reward devotees in equal measure.
So the result is a 20-song compilation that could have used more. Ultimately, it's inessential. But Westerberg is SO GOOD, it's hard to complain about any collection that provides us with more of his songs. A comprehensive b-sides and outtakes set would be more welcome, but in the meantime, I'm glad this is here.
(And, as long as I'm writing to people who know and love Paul: Why are people so against Suicaine Gratifaction? Along with Stereo/Mono, I put SG at the top of the Westerberg list. It boggles my mind that this album is so under-appreciated. Just listen to the two best tracks from that cd, It's a Wonderful Lie and Looking Out Forever, both of which are deservingly on this best-of collection.)
In conclusion: to the already devoted, I recommend this for the previously unreleased tracks. To the newcomers, start with 14 Songs, Suicaine, and Stero/Mono, and build up to this.
Westerberg is fantastic. He's raw, talented, and heartfelt. His music is based in anguish, yet somehow always makes the listener feel better afterwards. Even in the grips of pathos, he squeezes some humor from the situation, as observed here on "Let the Bad Times Roll" and "Man Without Ties," among others.
This collection comprises selections from his solo albums, and mostly does a good job. His oft-acoustic-based tunes and sandpaper vocals work well with his heartfelt, clever songwriting. (Sample lyric: "You wax poetic/'Bout things pathetic/As long as it looks so cute" from the rocker "World Class Fad").
Any fan has the 14 album tracks that are on here. The value for a fan is in the soundtrack selections and b-sides that are included. For everyone who hated "I Am Sam" but wanted Paul's version of "Nowhere Man," it surfaces here so we don't have to buy the soundtrack. Other terrific 'new' moments include the song "Man Without Ties" and the vaguely offensive "C'mon C'mon C'mon."
The selection of previously released stuff seems kind of haphazard, more geared towards casual or budding fans than those folks who like Paul's more challenging, exciting stuff. But although they focused on the catchy over the meaty, it all tastes good in the end.
Fans will want the soundtrack stuff, and newcomers get a cool idea of what the best songwriter of the past twenty years sounds like.
AND AS A DIEHARD FAN WHO REFUSED TO PICK UP THE "MELROSE PLACE" SOUNDTRACK:
I'm glad I bought it.
The only real crime is the omission of Waitin For Somebody, so now you have to hunt up the Singles soundtrack. Other than that, this is a pretty good single disc collection and the outtakes are definitely worth having.
Go Paul. I'm glad you're in your basement crankin out the raw stuff, but there's room on the shelf for this stuff too!
This is the beauty of Westerberg's music. His song writing is so intelligent and personal that every fan has their own favorite. The song that they relate to more than any other song they've heard. A song to which they say "this is me." This compilation is definitely chalk full of these songs. From the beautiful sadness in ballads like "Things," "It's A Wonderful Lie" and "Love Untold" to the songs like "Knockin On Mine," "World Class Fad" "High Time" and "Stain Yer Blood" that your hips can't help but shake to.
For the devoted fans we get two new songs from the era of Westerbergs second solo release "Eventually." All That I Had is the slower and lyrically uplifting song while C'Mon, C'Mon, C'Mon shows Westerberg's true love of Rock N Roll. A song that begs to be played loud through big speakers or blasted in your headphones.
Now there are quite a few songs that are missing from my own "Besterberg." For people just starting to delve into all that is Westerberg I would highly recommend the Stereo/Mono two disc set. You get the best of two Westerberg worlds. Stereo is more ballad driven emotional ride where as Mono, under the Grandpaboy moniker, is the rock that Westerberg was born to play. Come Feel Me Tremble is also a great representation of Westerberg's basement recording era. With blues inspired rock and death inspired ballads you can't deny the greatness that is Paul Westerberg.
Besterberg is a must have for the newly released songs and having the great tunes from multiple soundtracks all on one disc. Pick this up along with Folker, if you dare say you haven't already to compare some of the best tunes from Westerberg's earlier days with his more recent recordings.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great and under-rated songwriter a cross section of Westterberg's best.Published 4 months ago by Sean S. Smith
Absolutely worth it for the last 2 songs (All That I Had; C'mon, C'mon, C'mon); plus I can finally pull that Melrose Place soundtrack out of the collection (people always ask), tho... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I'm not a fan of 'greatest hits' CDs, but decided to get this anyway and glad I did. Can never go wrong with Paul Westerberg.Published 17 months ago by lvb
Anyone who's followed Paul's solo career knows that his post 2000 stuff starting with Stereo/Mono is superior to his 90's releases. His fans think so and the critics agree. Read morePublished on April 21, 2013 by zinc55
This being Paul's greatest hits solo album. It's a strong batch of solo stuff but don't be fooled it's nothing like the Replacements stuff to me. Read morePublished on August 30, 2011 by Kevin Wickersham
Of course I love it, it's Westerberg! Had most of the songs already but needed a couple from this CD to complete my collection. For the price, I picked up one to give as a gift. Read morePublished on October 7, 2010 by trustme
I owned 1 Replacements CD when I bought Besterberg. I was mildly interested, but not wildly enthusiastic. Read morePublished on April 21, 2008 by Sawyer
Paul Westerberg emmerged on the music schene in the early 80's with the Minneapolis based "Replacements" and went on to a good career with them until he struck out solo in the... Read morePublished on December 4, 2006 by Wiseguy945
What is needed for Paul Westerberg is a two CD set of Best of, the first being '91 to '98, the second, '99 to present. Read morePublished on May 22, 2006 by Simon Turner