Released in 1984, Let It Be was one of the high points of the get-in-the-van Eighties indie-rock scene, but these well-soused Minnesotans had no use for the principles or oblique artiness of contemporary bands such as Sonic Youth or Husker Du. Instead, frontman Paul Westerberg crammed the equivalent of a half-dozen John Hughes films into thirty-three brilliant minutes, claiming Springsteenian passion and regular-dude earnestness for overgrown kids trapped in the Midwest.
Let It Be brilliantly mixes up recklessness and vulnerability: The opening one-two punch of "I Will Dare" and "Favorite Thing" have just the right amounts of smartass sneering and undeniable melody. But the real surprise is a series of bighearted ballads -- the everything-sucks lament "Sixteen Blue," the gorgeous, trend-monitoring "Androgynous" and "Unsatisfied," a slice of adolescent agony that stands as the best song Westerberg has ever written. Few albums so brilliantly evoke the travails of growing up, and even fewer have so perfectly captured a young band in all its ragged glory.
(Posted: Jul 28, 2005)
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The 'Mats last indie album and the first hint at the greatness that good have been. Though there are some tossaway joke songs (Gary's Got A Boner), the album takes a deeply serious tone such as the caberatesque Androgounous. How John Waters didn't use Sixteen Blue in one of his movies is beyond me. The best moments though are on Unsatisfied (with REM's Peter Buck supplying the guitar) and the album's closer Answering Machine, the best song ever written about a long distance relationship. "How do you say I'm lonely to an answering machine."
Dec 6, 2005 03:38:41