And on this day in 1984 the majesty and wonder that is The Replacements’ “Let it Be” was unleashed on the world. I was 12 and had no idea. I’m pretty sure in 1984 my favorite musicians included Michael Jackson, Huey Lewis, and Lionel Richie.
In the world of Mats’ fans and Westernerds there is much debate about which album is the best. Most would agree that it’s a race between “Tim,” “Pleased to Meet Me,” and “Let it Be.” You could make a strong case for each of the albums as best. I often throw my vote to “Let it Be” due to my unwavering allegiance to the song “I Will Dare.”
But in recent years I’ve been making eyes at “Tim” mostly because “Kiss Me on the Bus.” The ebullience of that song is contagious. Hearing it makes me smile harder than I may have been smiling before the song came on. Also, most of “Tim” reminds me of being 23ish and having a shitty job that involved vacuuming the floors of a restaurant. This was my shitty second job I’d go to after closing the gas station I worked at, which was my shitty first job.
I had a Walkman, specifically the one shown on the left, I’d take with me. On one side of tape was “Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash” and on the other “Tim.” Or at least as much of “Tim” that’d fit on the tape.
Trust me, there’s nothing more depressing than vacuuming a restaurant at midnight on a Minnesota winter night while listening to “Here Comes a Regular.”
I have no idea why I chose “Sorry Ma” and “Tim” for the vacuuming music. I do know why I didn’t choose “Let it Be.” Because, I would listen to “Let it Be” over and over and over often for eight hours a night while working at the shitty gas station job.
In 1995, The Replacements were still pretty new in my life and were about the only thing I wanted to talk about. I definitely didn’t want to talk about my inability to land a ‘real’ job or how lonely I was away from all my college friends or how much it sucked living with my sisters and parents again.
No, I only wanted to talk about The Replacements and how amazing they were.
So I would work the 3-11 shift at the gas station five nights a week and on each of those nights I’d sit in the office smoking cigarettes, reading books, and listening to “Let it Be” as loud as I could without customers complaining.
Looking back, I can see now that clearly it was the best job ever even if it only paid $5.50 an hour.
“Let it Be” was my lifeline. Everything about it seemed to be THE TRUTH. Yes, all caps truth. Just like The ‘Mats I was unsatisfied, and I wanted to dare, and I really didn’t know how to say goodnight to an answering machine. We still had answering machines in the 90s.
I can’t remember how I reconciled the sophomoric “Gary’s Got a Boner” or “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” with THE TRUTH. If I were so inclined I could go upstairs and dig out the gas station journals, I’m sure it’s written in there with very much heartfelt sincerity.
However, I do remember that I made no excuses for “Black Diamond” even then, when I was just beginning to really grow into my musical taste, I knew that was crap. (and now I still refuse to apologize for thinking it was utter crap).
Twenty-eight years and still with the best side-one, track one of all time. Not too shabby.