Rocktober Special: Every Song on The Replacements’ Dead Man’s Pop, ranked

So The Replacements have released a sort of full-bore corrective to their worst album, Don’t Tell a Soul. It’s pretty successful as that – the record really was destroyed in the mix stage, and the original mix (the Matt Wallace mix presented here) does a good job of showing how this could have been a great record.

Probably still their least-good record, but at least not a bad one.

So anyway, here’s every song on the boxed set – the remixed version of the album, the concomitant b-sides, some demos and alternate takes, and an entire contemporaneous show from the University of Wisconsin.

We’ll Inherit the Earth (Matt Wallace mix)

Valentine (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Left of the Dial (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Achin’ to Be (Matt Wallace mix)

Bastards of Young (live at the University of Wisconsin)

They’re Blind (Bearsville Version)

Talent Show (Matt Wallace Mix)

I’ll Be You (Matt Wallace mix)

I Will Dare (live at the University of Wisconsin)

We’ll Inherit the Earth (Bearsville Version)

Answering Machine (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Alex Chilton (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Rock n Roll Ghost (Bearsville Version)

Color Me Impressed (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Achin’ To Be (Bearsville Version)

Little Mascara (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Another Girl, Another Planet (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Rock n Roll Ghost (Matt Wallace mix)

Unsatisfied (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Darlin’ One (Bearsville Version)

Can’t Hardly Wait (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Anywhere’s Better Than Here (Matt Wallace mix)

Achin’ To Be (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Portland (alternate mix)

We’ll Inherit the Earth (live at the University of Wisconsin)

The Ledge (live at the University of Wisconsin)

I’ll Be You (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Talent Show (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Dance on My Planet

Talent Show (Demo Version)

Here Comes a Regular (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Born to Lose (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Darlin’ One (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Back to Back (live at the University of Wisconsin)

We Know the Night (Alternate Outtake)

I Won’t (Matt Wallace mix)

Black Diamond (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Wake Up (Bearsville Version)

Ought To Get Love (Alternate Mix)

Darlin’ One (Matt Wallace mix)

Never Mind (live at the University of Wisconsin)

I Won’t (live at the University of Wisconsin)

We Know the Night (f Tom Waits) – full band version

I Don’t Know (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Asking Me Lies (Matt Wallace mix)

Last Thing in the World

Anywhere is Better Than Here (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Date to Church (Matt Wallace Mix)

We Know the Night (f Tom Waits)

Cruella de Ville (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Back to Back (Matt Wallace mix)

Asking Me Lies (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Nightclub Jitters (live at the University of Wisconsin)

Gudbuy T’Jane (Outtake)

I’ll Be You (Bearsville Version)

They’re Blind (Matt Wallace mix)

If Only You Were Lonely (f Tom Waits)

I Can Help (f Tom Waits)

Lowdown Monkey Blues (f. Tom Waits) 

Waitress in the Sky (live at the University of Wisconsin)

The 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

It’s Rocktober! And while this space used to recognize it as such in the past 1, there’s always time to stop and yell about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees.

For the last couple of years, these annual writeups have been interrupted by the continued series where I examine all of the people that have ever been inducted, and largely yell about them as well, so I’ve got an ever-increasing sense of what’s actually going on here, and how these things go, which has given me a slightly more laissez-faire idea of how this all goes, since I’m basically inundated in how absurd this all is. 

It’s still fun to argue about though, so onward to the absurdity!

Pat Benatar

There are a bunch of people who are inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the degree of their mechanical talent. There are bands who are here for the performances of their guitar players, their drummers, and occasionally their singers. We can then presume that, as such, an enormously popular lady with an incredible singing voice should probably be in the offing. The fact I’d rather drive the handle of a spoon through my eardrum than actually listen to her music, then, seems to be secondary to the fact that it seems inertia will carry her forward into the HOF on the back of her being a good singer that people remember fondly. It’s not fair, but I suppose it’s the way things go, and I’m feeling charitable, because most of the other nominees are even worse.

THE VERDICT: Sure. Gotta let somebody in, after all. 

Dave Matthews Band

I’m old, and one of the many official signs of this is that the terrible radio flotsam of when I was an adolescent is now HOF eligible. That’s kind of a shame. On the one hand, it would be interesting to see where the HOF took jam-band eligibility from here, on the other hand, the HOF is unquestionably better off without any of them, not even this, the most listenable 2 and popular jam band.

THE VERDICT: No way 

Depeche Mode

Man, I do not have any words left to express my disapproval of the entirety of Depeche Mode’s ouevre, let alone their very existence of a band, and I certainly do not think it needs to be celebrated. 

THE VERDICT: Never in life

The Doobie Brothers

In lieu of laying out my exact case for why the Doobie Brothers were awful and should not be inducted into the anything hall of fame, I will state the following: I have always written them off as a Crosby Stills and Nash rip-off band, and I have recently discovered that in the early eighties the two acts toured together, which means that Crosby Stills and Nash are willing to lug around their own tribute act as an opening act. And not like how Wire did it in the eighties 3, but just because. Ew. Anyway, the Doobie Brothers are bad.

THE VERDICT: No. 

Whitney Houston

Above I decided that it was ok if Pat Benatar got in on the strength of her voice. Here I am going to say that it is insufficient, for a couple of reasons. The first is that Whitney Houston has less to do with rock and roll than anyone else in this here nominating class. The second is that while her voice is justifiably impressive when she bothered to use it, the strength of her reputation rests largely on the two or three times she employed it to do anything impressive. I will also point out that while “And I WIll Always Love You” is one of those impressive performances, I will also state that the giant nineties-soundtrack read on the song has always struck me as a wildly-inappropriate recontextualization, and without that, she’s not left with much of a case. So she’s out.

THE VERDICT: Not actually

Judas Priest

I do not love Judas Priest’s music, but a great deal of the music that I listen to on a day to day basis is made by people who do. It would be better for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to get onboard with some more heavy metal, given how much great rock music was made within the idiom, and Judas Priest would be integral to doing so. They sold a bajillion records, some of which are counted among the best in their genre, and they existed respectably for a long time. They belong in the Hall of Fame.

THE VERDICT: Yes

Kraftwerk

I have very similar things to say about Kraftwerk as Judas Priest. It’s not my thing – there are a good half-dozen kosmische bands that I like more than Kraftwerk – but it’s undeniably important, sold plenty, and they were a genuine expression of some pretty genuine artistic impulses right up until they weren’t, which seems like fainter praise than I mean it to. I’m happy that Kraftwerk was in the world, even though they aren’t really in my record collection.

THE VERDICT: Yep

MC5

Last year the HOF inducted a bunch of single-songs, and I, as I do every year, will say that I think “Kick Out the Jams” belongs among them. I do not think that the MC5’s body of work holds up as well. I will, however, take this moment (because I have nothing new to say here) to say that I worry that I’m harder on bands who work in idioms I like and fail to impress me there, despite my generosity above for Judas Priest and Kraftwerk. In any event, however, I just don’t think there’s an argument for the MC5 to be included.

THE VERDICT: No

Motorhead

Well, I don’t have to be charitable here. Motorhead were great in all the same ways as Judas Priest, plust they were great in enough other ways that I actually like their music! It’s a hard legacy to argue with, and certainly they should have been in the HOF long before this year. 

THE VERDICT: Inarguably

Nine Inch Nails

I’ve said in years prior that Nine Inch Nails are one of those bands whose primary argument isn’t necessarily their originality as such, but rather that they were a fairly successful synthesis of a bunch of decidedly non-mainstream impulses that they figured out how to turn into a successful, straightforward rock band, and that their influence, then, is less about people copying them than in exploring the things that Nine Inch Nails can lead to 4. Couple that with a body of work that includes very few outright duds, and a couple of works of actual genius, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good case for inclusion.

THE VERDICT: Yes

The Notorious BIG

Last year they swung for the West Coast by nominating Tupac, and here we have the East Coast shot. I do think that the Notorious BIG should be in whatever the same Hall of Fame has any given other branch of itself devoted to rap, as I think he’s one of those musical forces that’s almost impossible to overrate. He was great, and while his career was brief, it was also of a uniformly high quality, and his influence is incalculable. So he goes in, with the usual protest that he is absolutely and in no way a rock and roll musician.

THE VERDICT: Yes

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan

I really think that the disco avenue is a strange one for the RRHOF to pursue, and, as every year, I will point out that if you’re going to bring a disco group into the fold, you should probably have started with Chic. Rufus is, at least, a group, albeit one that separates their singer in their official name 5, so that’s something. Anyway, they are terrible and I can’t imagine that they inspired anyone to do anything, and I’ve run out of charity for impressive singers, and Chaka Khan also isn’t that impressive a singer, so this one’s pretty much open and shut

THE VERDICT: Nopers

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren lived an admirable personal life, produced some truly great records in his time, and wrote two good songs. That’s not really enough to get you into the rock and roll hall of fame as a performer. I’d allow him in as a producer or whatever. But his music, in addition to not being very interesting, also dates very poorly, and I’d be surprised if anyone under the age of say, fifty turned out to be a big fan. He’s a lock for the “decent dude” hall of fame, though. 

THE VERDICT: Not as a performer

Soundgarden

They’ll have gotten in after Pearl Jam and Nirvana, which is fair, I suppose. They would also be an interesting twist in the aforementioned heavy metal problem – they’re the heaviest of the famous grunge bands 6, or at least the most “metal”. I’d like to see them in there, because they did sort of show the way through the woods for dudes that wanted to sing like Robert Plant and play in heavy metal bands but also didn’t want to be in fucking Motely Crue, which was nice for the melodicization of mainstream metal over the decade or so subsequent, and because they were a phenomenal set of musicians, taken individually. I will, however, say that I don’t remember the last time I played one of their songs for pleasure. And it was probably “The Day I Tried to Live”.

THE VERDICT: Sure

T. Rex

Proof that we live in the darkest timeline, and have for quite some time: in 1973, Marc Bolan created twenty-four of the finest seconds of rock and roll music ever written – the beginning of “20th Century Boy,” right up until the actual singing on the first verse starts. This bolt of inspiration, which seems like it should have gone somewhere, was completely wasted on the prat that received it (the bolt, I mean), who then used his one great idea to convince rock assholes that they should wear scarves. 

THE VERDICT: Obviously not. Scarves

Thin Lizzy

They weren’t thin, and none of them were named Lizzy. There. I made that joke now. Isn’t that fun? I like Thin Lizzy, but occasionally I am reminded that there is a segment of their fanbase that is bugshit ape-crazy bananaballs bonkers over them, and when I encounter these people, I go back and listen to a bunch of Thin Lizzy to see if I can pick it up, and then I don’t pick it up, but I quite like them anyway. Just, like, a normal amount of liking them. Anyway, they had popularity, they had influence, they have rabid fans, they’re basically a textbook case of a band that should be in. 

THE VERDICT: Yes

 


  1. and will continue to do so in the future – as those of you who noticed that I missed a post for the first time in years will have noted, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks 
  2. for an extremely generous definition of “listenable” 
  3. Wire didn’t want to play their old songs, so they hired a cover band who could do so so that people would get to hear them, and then played their regular set as Wire which is, at least, a kind-of-good idea. 
  4. Nirvana is another HOF band that’s like this. 
  5. that’s it up there, with the “featuring” and everything 
  6. I’m calling them heavier than Alice in Chains and L7 here, and I’m using the word “famous” to leave out Tad and the Melvins. I am also not opening the floor to discussions of the definition of the term “grunge” 

The 2019 BET Hip-Hop Awards

So here’s a confession: as anyone who may have been paying attention to this space closely (probably more closely than anyone is inclined to, frankly) may have noticed, mainstream hip-hop is currently in a situation that I’m not particularly inclined to like!

 

I have noted in the past that this may be because I am An Old, and there may, in fact, never again be a day where I like radio hip-hop. That’s an interesting development, and certainly possible, but I’ll have to wait until the current crop of third-rate warmed-over Young Thug mumbles and would-be Future clones get out of here to know for sure.

So, anyway, the BET Hip-Hop awards are upon us. The reason, in fact that this is going up so late is that I wasn’t sure I was actually going to manage to write about it at all. But I’m here, doing so, because if I start abandoning awards situations just because they aren’t to my taste, literally the only one I’d ever write about would be the Nebulas. 

So here we go, the BET Hip-Hop Awards, hopefully at its nadir, so that I can have more fun doing this next year.

And I’ll be doing it quickly, because I believe in bringing positivity to the world, and not just screaming about Travis Scott all the time.

Best Hip-Hop Online Site/App

I will say that at least Complex is a little bit more interesting than most of these, although we’re not off to a strong start in terms of things that aren’t representative of the worst things about mainstream Hip-Hop.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Complex, I guess

Best International Flow

True story: I had to do a bunch of listening to figure out any of this. I do think it’s hilarious that, while technically accurate, Canada’s Tory Lanes is included here. Heh. Anyway, I like Sarkodie.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Sarkodie

Impact Track

Ugh. So this is the track that makes an “impact” on the society or whatever for justice purposes or what have you. I’m impressed they managed to avoid using the word “woke”. Credit to the producers for that one. I’m also, for the first time in the history of this blog, about to declare J. Cole the rightful winner of something, a thing I once swore I would never do. This is where the world has brought me, and I am deeply ashamed of it.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: J. Cole, “Middle Child”

Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse

I kind of wish I could bring back the Mrs. Coach’s Hair running joke for this one, because I can’t imagine thinking any of these verses are the best anything. I dunno, maybe it’s time. Let’s dust it off and give it the ol’ last go. The Mrs. Coach’s Hair reunion tour.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mrs. Coach’s Hair

Best Mixtape

I’ll interrupt this positivity festival to point out that the world has lost their fucking mind for this Jack Harlow thing, and I am not feeling it, but for different reasons than some of the other stuff here, so that’s fun! Anyway, I do like Kevin Gates.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kevin Gates, Luca Brasi 3

Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style)

I think this one almost has to go to Cardi B, although I admit that DJ Khaled’s decision to make his “style” just “carrying his adorable child around” makes him a strong contender.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Cardi B

Hustler of the Year

I wonder what the over-under on people mentioning that every Rick Ross is hustlin’ is? LIke a million? I’d take the over on a million. It’s not that it’s a funny joke, it’s just that it’s easier to make the joke than not to make it. Anyway. It’s Cardi B, not Rick Ross. I don’t think RIck Ross has, in fact, ever hustled.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Cardi B

Best New Hip-Hop Artist

The cultural juggernaut of “Old Town Road” aside, I think that we’re probably pretty well through with Lil Nas X. I think that Megan Thee Stallion has started out pretty strong, and i’m pretty to declare her the best of this outfit.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Megan Thee Stallion

Album of the Year

Hey! I actually legit love that Tyler, the Creator record! Super into it! Can say this without much thought or begrudgement! This is the best category!

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Tyler, the Creator, Igor

Single of the Year

Oh fuck it. I still don’t think “Old Town Road” is a very good song, but it’s better than “Money,” which is the only other song here I have even a little bit of affection for, and also I do genuinely love the video, so it can have this one.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road (Remix)” (f. Billy Ray Cyrus)

MVP of the Year

I’m a big fan of sentimentality, and also a big fan of people finally getting their due, even if it’s only posthumously, so I’m pretty in favor of this going to Nipsey Hussle. 

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Nipsey Hussle

Producer of the Year

I swear this category is nearly-identical every damn year. I think that I’ve noticed more good stuff coming from London on da Track than usual this year, so by the highly scientific expedient of “stuff I remember”, I’m calling it for him.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: London on da Track

DJ of the Year

Oh my god I don’t care. I guess I appreciate that Mustard is out there trying to do his own thing instead of staying int he background, and I also like the irony of him winning “DJ of the year” in the year that he dropped the “DJ” from his name.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mustard

Video Director of the Year

This set of nominees is hilarious, because the nominating powers at BET clearly have specific videos in mind, but they aren’t listed on BET’s website, so we all just sort of have to guess. Some of them are very easy, some of them less so. It’s a fun little mystery here in the middle of the nominations. Good stuff.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Benny Boom

Lyricist of the Year

It remains the case that I very much do not care about lyrics, and also that to the extent that I do care about lyrics, I would give this award to Vince Staples. But he’s not nominated, because these awards are stupid. Since I don’t know enough individual lyrics to pass judgment, I’ll just assume that it goes to Nipsey Hussle again and have done with it.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Nipsey Hussle

Hot Ticket Performer

I would probably go see The Carters. I mean, I never have, but I think about it every time one or both of them come through Cleveland. Traditionally in categories like this, that makes them the winner.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Carters

Best Collabo, Duo or Group

This is sort of what I mean, though. Like, all of these songs are pretty bad. Unlike the Best Featured Verse category, they aren’t so bad that I can’t choose, they’re just pretty bad. This is, sort of, what makes this particular writeup so cursory. If it were more execrable (like the CMAs or the iHeartRadio awards) I would enjoy digging in and trying to figure out which turd was the most finely-polished. If it was better, it would be more fun because it’s fun to like things. None of this is bad in a way that makes me mad (except the DJ Khaled song, which is the worst song Common has ever appeared on), it’s all just….not good. Like, I’m sure Lil Baby is happy with his situation and definitely deserves his place in all this, it’s just not a place that I give a shit about. I don’t like to keep giving these to “Old Town Road”, but, honestly, it’s the only thing I can feel positively enough about to even give the time of day.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road (remix)” (f. Billy Ray Cyrus)

Best Hip-Hop Video

And so we come to the most frustrating category: “Old Town Road” is nominated for a bunch of these, and it’s not nominated for this, the one category it should actually be nominated for. This is infuriating. Next year somebody better make a fucking pop-rap record that I like or this is going to get even more listless. 

It doesn’t have enough list, is what I’m saying here.

Anyway, To conclude the briefest and most cursory awards-show writeup to date, the best video actually nominated in this category is the video for “Money.” Congratulations everybody.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Cardi B, “Money”

Alright folks, tune in next time when I’ll be a little more engaged I hope? Or at least things may have gotten terrible enough that I’d be more upset. I didn’t even footnote anything in this one! This is truly a landmark occasion!

The Best Records of September 2019

The Messthetics – Anthropocosmic Nest (look, times are hard, and I’m just here for the greatest rhythm section in the history of rock and roll to support a proggy-ass guitar player all the time)

JPEGMAFIA – All My Heroes are Cornballs (In addition to it being nice to see someone get famous for all the right reasons – ie being great – it’s also nice when they make their best record post-fame)

Brittany Howard – Jaime (On the one hand, I’ve said for years that the reason I like but don’t love the Alabama Shakes was because their singer was clearly head and shouldres above everybody else in the band. On the other hand, I was surprised by just how right I was. It’s good to be right, y’all)

(Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar (weird enough to be opaque, and straightforward enough to be extremely likable, I might actually end liking this record even more with some more time spent with it. It’s his best record so far)

Will Johnson – Wire Mountain (I remain surprised by Will Johnson’s consistency, for no other reason than he seems like he shouldn’t be this consistent and this prolific. Great stuff.)