The winner of the absolutely stupidest goddamned music "critic" award ever goes to Sean Michael Robinson of The Atlantic:
The Replacements' Let It Be, for instance, rough edges to the performances aside, could sonically be a Stryper album.
Allow that to sink in for a moment.
Robinson, who is young and immature and can't string together anything other than a series of misremembered scraps gleaned from the this'll make me cool like all the other music critics playbook, actually thinks that The Replacements are just Stryper without better production.
This throwaway line comes as Robinson grapples with the legacy of The Violent Femmes and their debut album. His article is a mishmash of nonsense; he does not understand anything about the Femmes because he wasn't there, didn't apparently live during the 1980s, and thinks it was all about synthesizers and cannon-like snare drums. What a clown. Back then, it was popular music against underground music, and The Replacements were a punk band. A punk band that played songs influenced by virtually everything from Hank Williams to Alex Chilton to The Rolling Stones to The Suicide Commandos. The Violent Femmes were a folk punk band; these are not mutually exclusive things.
Stryper were a heavy metal band. I will not insult them.
Comparing punk bands--and the various flavors of punk run the gamut, of course and it's impossible to categorize everyone who was a punk band as being one kind of punk--with heavy metal bands is a joke.
Robinson writes of the Femmes:
The unadorned aesthetic made them painfully un-hip at their own time, but at a distance of 30 years the approach seems downright visionary. It is, after all, in perfect service to the songs and to the band's ragged delivery. It isn't just the carefully portrayed lust and regret, the jolting ugliness of desire, and the impossibility of deliverance—it's that by eliminating the aural tics of the era, the record documents not a moment of time, but a time of life...What a bunch of horseshit. They were just playing the songs they had and they were just trying to make it. There is an undercurrent of misogyny that runs through Gano's songs, and that's a word Robinson doesn't include in his word salad explanation of the band. This misogyny is evident in the line "that bitch took my money and she went to Chicago" and it was done to shock people and gain attention, much like the Christianity that would appear on their second album.
The Femmes were brilliant, and I love their debut, but let's not elevate it above the rest of the work they did. They have a body of music (does anyone even own 3?) that is replete with brilliance and loss, heartbreak and excitement. If you think it was all about their first album, then you're missing tons of stuff that mattered. They were more than their first album; it would be like saying, well, R.E.M. and Murmur, that's all you need.
Now, as for the bullshit, how do you proceed? Should I go there? I think I will. Why does Let it Be sound the way it did? Let me explain something about this.
I have stood in the room where it was recorded. I have been to Blackberry Way studios in Minneapolis, and, in what was probably 1989 or so, I remember thinking how cool it was to actually be in such a place.
They call it Old Blackberry Way now, and it looks the same as it did back then. It was not a fancy recording studio, but it was perfect for bands and musicians to make demos and recordings. It was not a terrible, junky place. Quite the opposite. It was a place where people recorded music for as little money as possible with professionals who cared. It used to cost $350 per day to record there; not a princely sum at all unless you're an underground band that's trying to make it.
So, please spare me the comparison between The Replacements and Stryper. Nothing on Let it Be sounds like commercially-marketed heavy metal, up to and especially their Kiss cover and Gary's Got a Boner. There's nothing slick about anything The Replacements ever did, and that's why people love them.
Sean Michael Robinson, what an assclown.