You know, for this article on an album from 1985 I could have written about the WWF’s The Wrestling Album. I could be writing about “Real American” or Mean Gene Okerlund doing a cover of “Tutti Frutti.” However, I did not decide to do that, so you are welcome/I am sorry. There were some intriguing options to be sure. The Dead Milkmen released their first album. A few big pop albums came out, like Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits and No Jacket Required from Phil Collins. Husker Du dropped two albums on us. There are even some early hip hop albums. In the end, though, I am going with Tim from the Replacements.
Tim is the best Replacements album, the one that is in the proverbial Goldilocks zone. It’s got a little more polish and better songwriting than Let It Be (not the Beatles one), but isn’t as glossy as Pleased to Meet Me, which has horns and stuff on it. Tim is still emblematic of the punk energy that defined the Replacements early on. Perhaps it’s because it is the last album from the original lineup, as Bob Stinson was booted from the band after this one.
I could just tell you this is the album with “Bastards of Young” on it and be done with things. That’s the best Replacements song. It’s the iconic Replacements song. It’s the one that got me into the band many years ago. That song is raw but well-crafted, and it packs a lyrical punch. However, there is much more to recommend about Tim. “Waitress in the Sky” and “Swingin’ Party” are fun sort of throwaways. “Left of the Dial” is almost as good as “Bastards of Young.” Then, the album ends with the sock in the gut that is “Here Comes a Regular.”
In terms of ‘80s punk, which has a little more sheen than a lot of ‘70s punk, the Replacements is about as good as you are going to get, and Tim is the band at their best. There’s a reason they rose to fame. There’s a reason they got to appear on Saturday Night Live to promote this album. Of course, there’s also a reason they were banned from Saturday Night Live after their one appearance. The band was notoriously a mess, especially Bob Stinson. Their live shows were drunk and incoherent. Tim, though, has those rough edges surrounding something beautiful.