The Replacements -- All For Nothing / Nothing For All

Sire

Written for the 1997 Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll

Sigh. Of course the Sire best-of shines. How could it not? It may not be 16 reasons to live, but it's at least 11. Any record that opens with "Left of the Dial," and careens through "Here Comes A Regular," "Alex Chilton," "Talent Show" before salvaging the secret gem "Nobody" by definiton cannot suck. Yup, it's incomplete, it ain't my choices, and yup, the split between four songs from two of the greatest albums of all time and two of the, um, not, is arbitrary, and misrepresentative, to say the least. And so what? If it's designed to spur sales of all of their Sire back catalog, that's a bad thing?

Meanwhile, for those of us who were there, who've been swapping stories for years on the Skyway mailing list and on AOL and Prodigy and alt.music.replacements, comes Nothing for All -- the usual b-side and outtake mishmash. And, naturally it's full of throwaways, dumb covers, band members' songs, and noisy shit. As were, you might remember, all of their great mid-80's records.

Bookended by perfectly imperfect versions of "Can't Hardly Wait" and "I Don't Know," they surround the shit with great songs like "Birthday Gal" "Portland" and the two-minute blast of everything that ever made them great, "Wake Up." And because the shit isn't really all that shitty; and the covers mostly educate, and the band members' songs prefigure their solo careers, it ends up working. Improbably, it all coheres into what I consider a great new Replacements album. Not all-time world-beating like Let It Be, et. al., but considering the times, one of the best records of the year.

--Jim Connelly

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This document HTMLized 14 August 2001
I was listening to The Replacements -- Nothing For All