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Besterberg: Best of Paul Westerberg

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After the Replacements disbanded, singer-songwriter and alt-rock icon Paul Westerberg went on to an acclaimed solo career, first with two songs on the Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack in 1992, and then with his revered 1993 solo debut, 14 Songs. Over the course of his subsequent albums, the legend of Westerberg's stellar songcraft and ragged and brilliant peformances grew exponentially. For the first time, highlights of his post-Replacements work-including his Grandpa Boy incarnation-are collected on a single, inspired disc, with the added bonus of three previously unissued rarities in the mix! Warner. 2005.

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The title of this nearly-hits set is so awful it couldn't be better suited to the ex-Replacements front man who earned it. Since striking out solo with a pair of prophetically glossed-up songs on the Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2002), Paul Westerberg has alternately struggled to shake-off and reclaim the punk urgency of his former band. He has failed at every turn. Whether by destiny or design is an entirely different matter. This collection focuses primarily on his major label output - before he headed for the basement and started making scratchy blues records - meaning it primarily focuses on Paul Westerberg: The Rod Stewart Years. It's not a good sign that among the rarities here, one song appeared on bargain-bin filler Melrose Place: The Music ("A Star Is Bored") and another on Friends: Music From The TV Series ("Stain Yer Blood"). Fortunately, there are just enough traces of that whiskey-soaked heartbreak in tracks like "World Class Fad" and "It's A Wonderful Lie" to remind us why Paul mattered in the first place. --Aidin Vaziri

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Dyslexic Heart
  2. Knockin On Mine
  3. World Class Fad
  4. Runaway Wind
  5. Things
  6. Seein' Her
  7. Man Without Ties
  8. A Star Is Bored
  9. Stain Yer Blood
  10. Love Untold
  11. Once Around The Weekend (Alternate Mix)
  12. Angels Walk
  13. It's A Wonderful Lie
  14. Lookin' Out Forever
  15. Nowhere Man
  16. High Time/Grandpa Boy
  17. Let The Bad Times Roll
  18. What A Day (For A Night)
  19. All That I Had
  20. C'mon, C'mon, C'mon


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 17, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B0007Z9RAM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,687 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brandon J. Smith VINE VOICE on May 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
First of all, it's really odd that this collection even exists. Westerberg has had approximately zero hit songs, and if they were really going for the best of a quirky and varied catalog, they left off some classics (Waiting for Somebody, AAA, Baby Learns to Crawl, Good Day, Soldier of Misfortune, - the list goes on, including anything from Folker or Dead Man Shake).

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.
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Let's be clear. I didn't want to buy this. I hate "Best Of's" in general. They're fine for the casual fan, but if you really like the band or singer, you'll pony up for the albums. As an intro to a singer, maybe. If you're a fan, why? Besides that, I already had all of Westerberg's albums. So why did I pick it up after months of waffling? Because of the unreleased stuff, of course!

NOW LISTEN:

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.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been a Replacements fan forever, but like a lot of people, I didn't like his solo stuff until Stereo/Mono. However, after finally getting to see him live recently, I've figured out that this guy is just one of a very small group of singers. He just HAS it. Even when the songs aren't his best, there's something to recommend about a performance almost every time. Even if it's just one good line, or even an inflection in his voice, it's worth hearing.

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!
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Format: Audio CD
Every die hard Westerberg fan has already created their own "Besterberg" many times over and will no doubtingly be a little disappointed that some of their favorites did not end up on the recently released best of.

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.
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