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Let It Be is the third studio album by American rock band The Replacements, released on October 2, 1984 by Twin/Tone Records. It is a post-punk album with coming-of-age themes. The band had grown tired of playing loud and fast exclusively by the time of their 1983 album Hootenanny and decided to write songs that were, according to vocalist Paul Westerberg, "a little more sincere."[1]

The album was well received by music critics and regarded among the greatest albums of the 1980s by Allmusic and Rolling Stone magazine.[2][3] The album is now considered a classic and is frequently included on professional lists of the all-time best rock albums[4] including placement as #241 on Rolling Stone magazine's list ofthe 500 greatest albums of all time.[5] The album was remastered and reissued in 2008, with six additional tracks.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Background

Background[edit]Edit

The Replacements started their career as a punk rock band but had gradually grown beyond the straightforward hardcore of initial albums like Stink.[6] Westerberg recalls that "playing that kind of noisy, fake hardcore rock was getting us nowhere, and it wasn't a lot of fun. This was the first time I had songs that we arranged, rather than just banging out riffs and giving them titles."[7] By 1983, the band would sometimes perform a set of cover songs intended to antagonize whoever was in the audience. Westerberg explained that the punks who made up their audience "thought that's what they were supposed to be standing for, like 'Anybody does what they want' and 'There are no rules' [...] But there were rules and you couldn't do that, and you had to be fast, and you had to wear black, and you couldn't wear a plaid shirt with flares ... So we'd play the DeFranco Family, that kind of shit, just to piss 'em off."[8]

Peter Buck of R.E.M. was originally rumored to produce the album. Buck later confirmed that the band did consider him as a possible producer, but when they met Buck in Athens, Georgia, the band did not have enough material. Buck did manage to contribute to the album in a limited capacity; he said, "I was kind of there for pre-production stuff, did one solo, gave 'em some ideas."[9]

Music and lyrics[edit]Edit

Let It Be is a post-punk album.[10] Westerberg's lyrics feature themes of self-consciousness and rejection as felt by awkward youths, and deal with topics such as generational discontent on "Unsatisfied", uncontrollable arousal on "Gary's Got a Boner", and amateurish sexuality on "Sixteen Blue".[11] According to music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the album's coming-of-age theme is aligned between adolescence and adulthood, and unlike many other adolescent-themed post-punk records, Let It Be remains less on the subject of angst and incorporates humor and more varied music.[2]

Packaging and title[edit]Edit

The cover of Let It Be is a photograph of the band sitting on the roof of Bob and Tommy Stinson's mother's house taken by Daniel Corrigan. Michael Azerrad stated that the cover was a "great little piece of mythmaking," showcasing each bandmember's personality via how they appear in the photograph.[12] The album's title is a reference to the 1970 album Let It Be by The Beatles; the reference was intended as a joke on the Replacements' manager, Peter Jesperson, who was a huge Beatles fan.[1] Westerberg has stated the name was "our way of saying that nothing is sacred, that the Beatles were just a fine rock & roll band. We were seriously gonna call the next record Let It Bleed."[7]

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [2]
The Austin Chronicle [13]
Robert Christgau A+[14]
eMusic [15]
NME 8/10[16]
Pitchfork Media 10/10[17]
PopMatters 10/10[18]
Q [19]
Rolling Stone [20]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [21]

Let It Be was well received by music critics. In a contemporary review for The Village VoiceRobert Christgau said that the band has matured by incorporating melody in their music and felt that they succeed by writing about their likes and dislikes rather than adhering to garage rock principles.[14] Debby Miller of Rolling Stone magazine called it a "brilliant rock & roll album" and wrote that, instead of the rugged, up-tempo rock of the band's first two albums, Let It Be has "an amazing range" of musical ideas.[22] Bruce Pavitt, writing in The Rocket, said called the album "mature, diverse rock that could well shoot these regional boys into the national mainstream."[12] Let It Be was voted the fourth best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 1984.[23] Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked it second best on his own list,[24] and in a decade-end list for the newspaper, named it the tenth best album of the 1980s.[25] Christgau later said that, along with X's 1981 album Wild GiftLet It Be represented the peak of American indie rock.[26]

In a retrospective review, eMusic's Karen Schoemer said that Let It Be is "as classic as rock & roll could be" and cited it as a cornerstone album of alternative rock, along with R.E.M.'s Murmurthe PixiesSurfer Rosa, and Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation.[15] Eric Boehlert of Salon called it a "post-punk classic".[27] Singer-songwriterColin Meloy wrote of Let It Be in an edition of the 33⅓ series dedicated to the album: "I listened to Let It Be endlessly. The record seemed to encapsulate perfectly all of the feelings that were churning inside me [...] Paul Westerberg's weary voice sounded from my boombox and I trembled to think that here I was, thirteen and the 'hardest age' was still three years in the making."[28] In a 2005 review, Rolling Stone's Christian Hoard wrote that the Replacements "had no use for the principles or oblique artiness" of contemporary indie rock bands such as Sonic Youth and Husker Du, and concluded that "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."[20]

Accolades[edit]Edit

The album is frequently included on professional lists of the all-time best rock albums. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it at number 239 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and called it "a post-punk masterpiece".[5] In 1989, the magazine had also rated it at #15 on its list of 100 best albums of the '80s.[7] In the 1999 miniseries "VH1's 100 Greatest Albums of Rock and Roll," VH1 ranked Let It Be #79.[29]Pitchfork Media rated the album at #29 on their 100 Best Albums of the 1980s. Spin ranked it #12 on their list of the 25 Greatest albums of all time.[4] Slant Magazine listed the album at #39 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[30] The opening track of the album, "I Will Dare" has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[31]

Track listing[edit]Edit

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Will Dare"   Paul Westerberg 3:18
2. "Favorite Thing"   Westerberg, Tommy StinsonBob StinsonChris Mars 2:19
3. "We're Comin' Out"   Westerberg, Stinson, Stinson, Mars 2:21
4. "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out"   Westerberg, Stinson, Stinson, Mars 1:53
5. "Androgynous"   Westerberg 3:11
6. "Black Diamond"   Paul Stanley 2:40
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Unsatisfied"   Westerberg 4:01
8. "Seen Your Video"   Westerberg 3:08
9. "Gary's Got a Boner"   Westerberg, Stinson, Stinson, Mars 2:28
10. "Sixteen Blue"   Westerberg 4:24
11. "Answering Machine"   Westerberg 3:40

Personnel[edit]Edit

The Replacements
Additional musicians
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