Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best Of The Replacements

Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best Of The Replacements

4.5 2
by The Replacements
     
 

The chronological presentation is perfect, given that the 'Mats went through more distinct stages in their time together than virtually any other band imaginable: from yowling punks to drunk-but-lovable tunemeisters to power-pop juggernaut. All of those phases -- not to mention two newly-recorded songs -- are lovingly documented on this 20-track disc, the first to… See more details below

Overview

The chronological presentation is perfect, given that the 'Mats went through more distinct stages in their time together than virtually any other band imaginable: from yowling punks to drunk-but-lovable tunemeisters to power-pop juggernaut. All of those phases -- not to mention two newly-recorded songs -- are lovingly documented on this 20-track disc, the first to bridge the Replacements' early days on Twin-Tone and their latter-day major label life. While it would've been nice to hear a bit more of the primal racket the quartet spewed while clambering out of the primordial ooze, "Shiftless when Idle" certainly gives a taste of that red-meat era. Smartly, the bulk of Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? comes from what most would consider the band's most fertile era, from the sneering-but-soaring "Color Me Impressed" to the plangent "Answering Machine," a track that proves that, even when most folks considered him a goofy barfly, Paul Westerberg was capable of crafting songs that lodge in the heart and head even two decades on. The disc balances those aching offerings -- "Here Comes a Regular" and "Skyway" being the most poignant -- with the band's unparalleled flair for reconciling bubblegum sweetness and garage-rock attitude, evident on such immediately recognizable ditties as "Left of the Dial" and "Alex Chilton." The new material -- not the product of a full-on reunion, obviously, given the death of original guitarist Bob Stinson and the performing reticence of drummer Chris Mars -- provides some pretty tasty icing on this cake. "Message to the Boys" effectively channels the spirit of Tim into a pulsing rouser rife with gritty riffs, while the teasing "Pool and Dive" pits Westerberg's winking wordplay against an airier melody that could easily have appeared on All Shook Down. That twofer alone ought to be enough lure for 'Mats fans, but for the previously uninitiated, it's hard to imagine a better primer than Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Great as the Replacements were, it's a little difficult to recommend one of their great albums as an introduction to the band. Sure, it's easy to see Let It Be as a masterwork of the '80s underground, capturing the group's ragged humor and heart, but it doesn't quite illustrate the depth of Paul Westerberg's songwriting the way Tim did, even if that record wasn't as ferocious as Let It Be, nor did it have the slick diversity of Pleased to Meet Me -- and none of the three had the raw, raucous kick of the 'Mats' first three albums (they also didn't have the desperate-for-a-hit vibe of Don't Tell a Soul or the sadly beautiful hangover of All Shook Down, but that's another matter entirely). It could be argued that any of those three would be effective intros, but the Replacements truly needed a compilation. Of course, they already got one in 1997, when Reprise issued All for Nothing/Nothing for All, containing one disc of hits and one of rarities, but due to legalities, it had nothing from the band's Twin/Tone work, which meant it had nothing at all from anything before Tim -- a severe handicap for a career overview to overcome. Released nearly a decade later, Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements trumps its predecessor for the mere fact that it does contain cuts from Twin/Tone -- eight of them, in fact, sampling from Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, Stink, and Hootenanny in addition to three selections from Let It Be. While it's possible to quibble about the actual selections -- any teenager or college kid of the '80s will likely have a friend that put "Androgynous" on a mixtape, not "Answering Machine" -- these records are well-represented, as are Tim with four songs and Pleased to Meet Me with three cuts, balanced by the two singles from Don't Tell a Soul ("Achin' to Be," "I'll Be You") and a song from All Shook Down, an underrated record that nevertheless feels like the first Westerberg solo album it should have been, so it's rightly downplayed. These 18 songs make for an excellent introduction to one of the major American bands of the '80s, and that alone would have been a nice addition to the Replacements' catalog (not to mention a good appetizer for the forthcoming box set allegedly in the works). But what makes Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? noteworthy for fans is the presence of two new tracks by a reunited Replacements. While this isn't exactly the full-fledged reunion that many fans have longed for -- Chris Mars sat this one out on drums, but he does provide harmonies -- "Message to the Boys" and "Pool & Dive" are perfectly credible, enjoyable throwaways, sounding a bit like if the 'Mats were Westerberg's backing band for 14 Songs. They're not great, but they're loose, silly, and a whole lot more fun than anything Westerberg has been up to since 14 Songs, and a nice coda to an already strong compilation.
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
Few indie (or non-indie) rockers shredded their throats like Paul Westerberg, and few did so in the context of more poignant or uninhibited songs. [Grade: A-]
San Francisco Chronicle - Jaan Uhelszki
The Replacements live on in these 18 greatest hits...because they worked without a net, recklessly careening around the edges of the abyss, yet never jumping in.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/13/2006
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227001322
catalogNumber:
70013
Rank:
26973

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Replacements   Primary Artist
Alex Chilton   Guitar,Background Vocals
Chris Mars   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Background Vocals,cowbell,Foot Stomping,Group Member
Paul Westerberg   Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Mandolin,Percussion,Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals,6-string bass,Lap Steel Guitar,Guitar (12 String Electric),Guitar (12 String Acoustic),Group Member
Peter Buck   Guitar
Charley Drayton   Drums
Slim Dunlap   Guitar,Group Member
Max Huls   Strings
Andrew Love   Tenor Saxophone
Bob Stinson   Guitar,Group Member
Tommy Stinson   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Bass Guitar,Group Member
East Memphis Slim   Keyboards,Vibes
Teenage Steve Douglas   Baritone Saxophone

Technical Credits

Mason Williams   Producer
Chris Mars   Composer
Paul Westerberg   Composer,Producer
Ed Ackerson   Engineer
James Luther Dickinson   Producer,Audio Production
Peter Doell   Engineer
Thomas Erdelyi   Producer,Audio Production
Steven Fjelstad   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
John Hampton   Engineer
Joe Hardy   Engineer
Bill Inglot   Remastering
Peter Jesperson   Producer,Audio Production
John Beverly Jones   Engineer
Scott Litt   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Pat McDougal   Engineer
Tommy Stinson   Composer
Darren Hill   Producer
Paul Stark   Producer
Michael Bosley   Engineer
John Akre   Engineer
Bill Holdship   Liner Notes
Reggie Collins   Discographical Annotation
Heidi Hanschu   Engineer
Daniel Hersch   Remastering

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