Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Paul Westerberg - 14 Songs (1993) Flac & mp3 (Read the review here)

Paul Westerberg's second solo LP (we all know the Replacements' final All Shook Down was really not a band LP) is a damn sight better than his first, with a batch of really nice tunes and some renewed enthusiasm (it's not as much of a downer); still, it's hard to resist the belief that he's capable of more than this. The fault is two-fold: One, fire co-producer Matt Wallace, who is more and more looming as the villain on Paul's last three LPs. The most convincing recordings here are the two crude demos Westerberg set down alone in the kitchen of his house.
His voice and tune devastate or kindle one's inner emotions by themselves. Compare these naked pathos with the somewhat rote "Knockin' on Mine" (a rip-off of Don't Tell a Soul's "Talent Show") or the just-tossed-off "Things," and it appears the lack of warmth in Wallace's familiar sound is pulling Paul's otherwise tremendous fervor down. Secondly, the first six Replacements' LPs all had more convincing material than this, culminating in the terrific Pleased to Meet Me. When inspired, he can still recall some of those heights: "Dice Behind Your Shades" remembers that former intimacy and sharp hooks, as do bits of "First Glimmer," "Runaway Wind," and the attempts at old raucous pounders, "Silver Naked Ladies" and "World Class Fad."
But they all still fall short of his former one-in-a-zillion singer/songwriter greatness. In fact, what really saves him on this record is his singing -- since the melodies and riffs are just good, not great, it takes a vocalist of his throaty gifts to deliver the pleasure. At times tender, sometimes who-gives-a-crap, other times amused or mildly sad and pensive, Westerberg makes us shower singers jealous over how much he can convey with just his pipes.
All the more reason to record future albums by himself in his kitchen? Or how about Westerberg "unplugged" from his living room? Talent like this is always best raw, whether "Kids Won't Follow" or "Never Mind" or "Kiss Me on the Bus." He'll never get that from Wallace, but he'll still shine through anyway.(Jack Rabid, allmusic.com)

...and here is what Mr. Wallace said to the review of Rabid...:-)

 I just found Jack Rabid's review of Paul Westerberg’s 14 Songs here on AllMusic and I’m sorry that the music Paul made during specific points of his artistic development didn't jibe with what Jack's brain demanded it should have been. It’s possible that he believes that his opinion is more ‘right’ or ‘correct’ than what Paul’s personal experience, intention and inspiration dictated and, unfortunately, he comes off as being mired in the past, overly critical and a bit arrogant.

As much as it appears that Jack wants artists to stay within the confines of his own perception (generally lauding their younger days) and not allowing them to grow older gracefully, life does move forward. Artists can start off with bluster, anger, speed, and a yearning for the world to change but, in time, they learn to express themselves in subtler and, one could argue, more mature ways that take into account years of genuine experience that changes their minds, hearts and perspective. Paul Westerberg knows how disingenuous it is for an older artist to attempt to recapture the piss and vinegar and agitated momentum of his former glory. He was acutely aware of his quieter and more introspective approach as he was making records over the years and he attempted to age gracefully while working and living within a noticeably younger man’s field. Yes, even artists grow up, they have children, they buy houses, they become responsible (often reluctantly, just like us producers) as is normal and natural but they can still write and sing with power and ferocity without his music always having to be loud and fast.

Along with Jack Rabid's unfortunately misguided review he is also incorrect in stating that I was “the villain on Paul’s last three LPs” because I only worked on two albums with him (Don’t Tell A Soul and 14 Songs). Jack also erroneously stated that “the first six Replacements’ LPs all had more convincing material than this, culminating in the terrific Pleased to Meet Me” when, in fact, Pleased to Meet Me is the fifth Replacement’s LP after Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981), Hootenanny (1983), Let It Be (1984), and Tim (1985). Album #6 would actually be Don’t Tell A Soul (1989). Stink, released in 1982, was an EP.

I genuinely hope that Jack finds a sense of peace and contentment as well as some empathy and understanding within his own life so that he might be able to see the world in general and, specifically the world of musicians struggling to create, from a different, possibly more humanist, perspective.

Matt Wallace
Record Producer/Mixer/Engineer/Remedial Musician

It exists things, i really love. And what Mr Wallace say (and that he have say it) is one of those little things.
          Frank    Flac part 1   &   Flac part 2

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