Well, it has been about 23 and a half years since Let It Be was released and since that is (approximately) Michael Jordan's number, I figured it was about time a review of it got tossed up.
For those unfamiliar with the Replacements, shut off that new Simple Plan album and listen up. These guys were a rock band. Not in the sense that Green Day is a rock band (huge tours, obnoxiously epic albums, etc.), but in the sense that they were there to play some music, break some shit and be pioneers of alternative rock. With their discography they covered pretty much all the bases of rock music. Note the differences between the hardcore stylings of Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take out the Trash and the mellow grooves of All Shook Down. Simply put, these guys influenced a lot of people and played really good songs. Hopefuly the majority of you already know that. Anyways, Let It Be was their real breakthrough and was well-accepted by fans and critics alike. It ranked #239 on Rolling Stone's Top 500 albums of All Time list, for what it's worth. I suppose talking about the music is more important than that, though.
What sets this album apart from the rest of their work (for me, at least) is the vast landscape that they cover. It almost runs like a well-put together mix tape(/CD/playlist) when played all the way through. The speedy punk of "We're Comin' Out" gives it an early edge at track 3 before slipping into the toned down "Androgynous and Black Diamond" later in the album. In between the more dynamic tracks, Let It Be is chock full of stellar alternative rock songs. Songs like "I Will Dare" and "Gary's Got a Boner" give a backdrop with which the Replacements can work off of to give the album some diversity.
Often the question comes to mind when dealing with "classic" or "essential" albums: Why are they considered that in the first place? With Let It Be, as with some other such albums, it's not always clear at first. Upon further inspection though, Let It Be really is the wheel being invented. Such a vast number of modern artists draw from this album that it's a bit ridiculous. For instance, you'd be lying if you told me that the Goo-Goo Dolls never had a listen to "Unsatistfied" and don't tell me that you haven't heard multiple bands try to recreate the sincerity of the piano ballad "Androgynous." Simply put, the timeless qualities of the Replacements lie in the fact that they did it first and, as in many cases, did it best.
Let It Be truly is a pleasure to listen to. It's fun, edgy, creative and emotional. I could go on pushing the need to listen to this album but that would be unnecessary. While it's not going to serve up a complete curveball that you've never heard before, listening to Let It Be sounds like going straight to the source. Those who are willing will enjoy its seemingly careless execution and those who aren't can go back to their Hinder MP3s. In no way am I attempting to be nostalgic or reminisce about old music. I listen to modern music and enjoy it. The thing about Let It Be is not that it is great music from the `80s -- it's great music in general. Appealing to a wide audience and yet completely credible, Let It Be shows one of the pioneers at their peak.
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