The Replacements - Hootenanny

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Hootenanny is the place where the Replacements began to branch out from the breakneck punk that characterized their first two records - which isn't quite the same thing as growing up, however. The brilliant thing about Hootenanny is that it teeters at the brink of maturity but never makes the dive into that deep pool. Paul Westerberg nevertheless dips a toe into those murky waters with "Color Me Impressed," as good an angst-ridden rocker as he would ever write, and the heartbroken "Within Your Reach," which presented a break from the Replacements' past in its slower tempo, driven by a stiff yet sad drum loop, and its vulnerability. Not long after this, Westerberg's vulnerability would become central to the 'Mats, although here he's keeping it way in check, but Hootenanny has something better to offer than a collection of soul-searching ballads: it offers the manic, reckless spirit so key to the Replacements' legend.

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