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Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? - The Best of the Replacements

4.5 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The ragged and glorious alt-rock of The Replacements made them one of the greatest and most iconic American bands of the 1980s, and inspired countless groups to come. Fronted by lead singer, pianist/guitarist, and principal songwriter Paul Westerberg, these heroes of post-punk/pre-grunge rock n roll fused garage band greatness with powerful pop beauty. Fueled by both thrashing energy and a lyrical and emotive sonic flow, The Replacements kamikaze live shows and richly textured albums made them music legends. Contains 2 new tracks.

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Chronicling The Replacements' gloriously tempestuous decade on a single disc ostensibly seems akin to reading Cliff's Notes for the New Testament: No sooner do you grow fond of the protagonist than they've nailed him up. And if that comparison sounds a tad sacrilegious, perhaps you underestimate the Mats' hallowed place in modern rock history--and the hearts of their ardent fans. Yet somehow even this condensed format focuses the songs of Paul Westerberg and playing of bandmates Bob and Tommy Stinson and drummer Chris Mars into a dramatic arc that can't be denied. The initial tracks of this 20-track collection display a band joyously besotted by nascent punk thrash, yet one not so different from the scores of similar bands tearing up local clubs in the '80s.

But by the time of Hootenanny's "Color Me Impressed" and "Within Your Reach," something magical was clearly happening within Westerberg's songwriting and the band at large, even if it was largely inspired by terminal boredom, perpetual discontent, no small amount of alcohol--and an indifference to success that was one of their greatest charms. Within two years they'd produce one of the decade's--and perhaps rock history's--most compelling albums with Let It Be and the indie movement's first grassroots anthem in "Unsatisfied." They followed it up with Tim, a collection where Westerberg seemed able to conjure similar generational marching orders ("Here Comes a Regular," "Bastards of Young," "Left of the Dial") with preternatural ease; enraptured rock critics probably thought harder about his music than he ever did. Though highlighted by such gems as "Alex Chilton," "Skyway" and such pop-smart swan songs as "I'll Be You" and "Merry Go Round," the Mats' third act dissolved into the expected, if equally star-crossed solo career for Westerberg and the tragic death of Bob Stinson, events which can't help but cast a melancholy shadow over the unexpectedly gritty new old stock recordings "Message to the Boys" and "Pool & Dive." --Jerry McCulley

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 13, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B000ESSTNS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,542 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
4.5 Stars

The Replacements (or the `Mats) were simply one of the greatest American rock bands of all-time. Formed in Minneapolis in 1979 and lasting until 1991, the `Mats, Paul Westerberg, (guitar/vocals) Tommy Stinson, (bass) Bob Stinson, (guitar) Chris Mars (drums) and later Slim Dunlap (guitar) and Steve Foley (drums) released seven albums and one EP. While the band matured over time, general themes of alienation, unrequited love, job dissatisfaction, and bewilderment were always prevalent in Westerberg's lyrics.

The band's new career spanning disc "Don't you Know who I Think I was?-The Best of the Replacements," (2006) does an excellent job at highlighting the 'Mats best work and includes tracks from the band's entire entire catalogue. This new compilation is an improvement over the band's first best of "All For Nothing, Nothing For All," (1997) which only included tracks from the band's Reprise albums, as the compilers couldn't gain access to the Twin Tone years.

The band's early work was more rough-around-the-edges and didn't sound unlike fellow Minneapolis icons Husker Du. These formative years yielded strong albums, with "Sorry Ma, Forgot to take out the Trash", (1981) "Stink" (EP), (1982) and "Hootenanny," (1983) which were for the most part fast and furious unadulterated punk.

While the early albums were strong, it was the band's next three albums, "Let it Be" (1984) "Tim," (1985) and "Pleased to Meet Me," (1987) which saw the band's finest offerings.

While "Let it Be" and "Tim" built on the punk-foundations of their predecessors, the songs were more refined, tightly written, with better hooks, a greater sense of melody, and with the occasional ballad, i.e., "Here Comes a Regular.
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I bought this collection in 2009 and it introduced me to The Replacements and they are now my favorite rock band. After this, I purchased all of their complete albums. This greatest hits compilation, which chronicles the entire carrer of The Replacements from the Twin/Tone days to the later releases on Sire, is a brilliant place to start if you are new to these giants of the underground rock movement of the 80s. It has all of their well known songs that you may or may not have heard before, the entire album flows together very well showing the band going from hardcore punk to more melodic power pop and folk rock, but also the remastering work on these songs are amazing here. I'm sure that those who grew up with the Mats in the 80s will be suprised how well the songs sound here, it will be like hearing the song for the first time again.

While some may say that The Replacements were just a garage rock band, to me they were more accessible and radio friendly than Husker Du, at least their later major label material was and still is today. I would compare them to the likes of R.E.M. or The Rolling Stones to be guite honest. Their music still holds up and doesn't feel dated at all, even the Don't Tell A Soul material I think. My personal favorite album from the Mats is Tim (1985), which was their first release on Sire records, and I'm happy to see that 4 songs from that album made the cut on this collection. These songs are addicting and will stick in your head forever, that's what it did for me at least. Buy this collection if you're a fan of pop rock, alternative rock or punk. It is a treat to discover these timeless recordings.
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For a single disc collection this is a nice overview of the Replacements and it does cover both their independent and major label releases. With overall good song selection it's hard to find much to complain about. But, I will. The problem with this type of career wide compilation is it places a priority on trying to get representation from all of their releases. Unfortunately, this short changes their best works, Let It Be, Tim and Please To Meet Me which all contain betters songs that were left out in favor of songs from all of their earlier CD's when Westerberg was still developing his immense song writing skills.

Accepting that approach it's hard to argue with the song selections except there are certainly better songs on Let It Be than Answering Machine. Other than that I would not dispute the song selections from each CD. And of course we also have 2 new songs! The story here is they are both excellent. After listening to this CD many times over, even hard core Replacements fans will admit they enjoy the new songs more than a couple of the earlier songs. They stand up very well with the major label version of the band. So, ultimately this CD is a success for both new fans and old fans who will certainly want to purchase it for the inclusion of the 2 new songs.
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Format: Audio CD
The Replacements are one of those bands where their legend almost over shades their actual recorded output. Some of what made the band what it was were their live performances (great, good, bad & ugly) so a 'best of' for The Replacements hardly makes for a by-the-numbers textbook greatest hits collection. So it can't accurately and fully represent the band that they were on one single disc. Having said this, this collection is pretty okay. The track selection seems is a tad off. "Shiftless When Idle" and "Takin' A Ride" could have been left off. Additions of "If Only You Were The Lonely", "Raised In The City", and "Little Mascara" and the great singles "I'm In Trouble", "When It Began", and "The Ledge" would have absolutely made this a definitive greatest hits collection.

For fans of the band there are two good, newly recorded (!) songs ("Message To The Boys" & "Pool And Dive"). And considering they haven't actively done anything as a band in fifteen years - they're great.
Paul sings and plays guitar, Tommy plays bass, Chris sings prominent backing-vocals (esp. on "Pool And Dive") and seeing as Chris hasn't played drums in a few years and his own preference of just wanting to sing and not play they used Josh Freese on drums (who backed Paul on his 14 Songs Tour). The songs themselves sound like superior Westerberg solo material although they are definitely 'Mats songs.

For the uninitiated this, again a pretty okay compilation but only begins to scratch the surface. I'd personally recommend 'Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash', 'Tim', 'Let It Be' and 'Pleased To Meet Me' and that's just for for starters.
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