Westerberg & Hatfield’s The I Don’t Knows – Wild Stab
Replacements fans will be thrilled to learn that there’s a new Paul Westerberg album out. Teaming up with 90’s alt-rocker Juliana Hatfield, Westerberg has released some old songs that otherwise would have never seen the light of day. Entitled Wild Stab, Westerberg’s first LP in over ten years is easily his most engaging to date.
In the interest of total disclosure, I’m not a ‘Mats or Westerberg fan. For my money, Chris Mars’ solo LPs are far more interesting than anything Westerberg has ever done. But Hatfield breathes some real life into what would otherwise likely be rote exercises for Westerberg. She does harmonies and background vocals most often but sings lead on a few tracks, too. Together, Westerberg and Hatfield have a similar appeal as Excene Cervenka and John Doe or Tim Lee and Susan Bauer Lee.
The disc opens up with a couple of old Replacements outtakes , “Back” and “Wear Me Out Loud”, each sounding better than it’s predecessor. With “Born For Me” and “Outta My System”, Westerberg (with Hatfield’s help) breathes new life into songs from his Suicaine Gratification and 49:00 Lps. “½ 2P” probably should have been an outtake but “Sorry For Another Night” is a charming foray into alt-country.
Midway through the disc we’re treated to some standout tracks starting with “Just a Phase”, a song that Hatfield sings lead on. “Need The Guys” and “King of America” are power pop songs of the highest order and worth the price of the disc themselves.
You can pick this disc up from Kool Kat Musik or just about anywhere else, for that matter.
On a side note: if you’re a Replacements fan and you’ve never heard Chris’ solo LPs, you’ve really missed something special. With each one, he delves farther into the world few of us understand, that of a schizophrenic. After checking out the melodic and very accessible work on 1992’s Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and 1993’s 75% Less Fat, be sure to check out the more obscure and truly fascinating Tenterhooks and 1996’s Anonymous Botch. His paintings are equally as intriguing. Check those out here.