The Replacements - Tim (Coloured Vinyl)
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**Limited-edition magenta translucent vinyl**
The Replacements may have left the label Twin/Tone behind but they weren't quite ready to leave Minneapolis in the dust, choosing to record in their hometown with Tommy Erdelyi - aka Tommy Ramone - who gives the 'Mats a big, roomy sound without quite giving them gloss. Compared to Let It Be, Tim is polished, but compared to many American underground rock records of the mid-'80s, it's loose and kinetic. The production - guitars that gained muscle, drums and vocals that gained reverb - is the biggest surface difference, but there aren't just changes in how the Replacements sound ; what they're playing is different too, as Paul Westerberg begins to turn into a self-aware songwriter. A large part of the charm of Let It Be was how it split almost evenly between ragged vulgarity and open-hearted rockers, with Westerberg's best songs betraying a startling, beguiling lack of affect. That's not quite the case with Tim, as Westerberg consciously writes alienation anthems : the rallying cry of "Bastards of Young" and the college radio love letter "Left of the Dial," songs written with a larger audience in mind - not a popular audience, but a collection of misfits across the nation, who huddled around Westerberg's raw, twitchy loneliness on "Swingin Party" and "Here Comes a Regular," or the urgent and directionless "Hold My Life."