Paul Westerberg

Paul Westerberg

Come Feel Me Tremble

Vagrant

After years of having your spirits raised in anticipation of a new Westerberg release, only to have them dashed, yet again, on the cruel rocks of reality, it’s understandable if you are a bit gun-shy when confronted with a new release. Well, with Come Feel Me Tremble those rocks are looming yet again. But this time, it’s pretty easy to determine why the crash is going to occur. This record was created entirely by Paul in his basement, and a few things stand out. First, he ain’t a drummer. If you can’t get somebody in to help out on the skins, get a drum machine. His rudimentary thumping drags the songs down — and they weren’t soaring too high to begin with.

Second, and more important, operating completely solo, you lose that vital system of checks and balances that exists when a band (or even a roomful of hired guns) creates the music. If this had been a Replacements record, then after a few tries at “Dirty Diesel” the song would have been dropped, with somebody going, “Nah, sounds like a second-rate Stones rip-off” (and who knows, this might have happened, a decade ago). Or “What a Day (For a Night)” would have been nixed, exposed as the simplistic, sentimental claptrap that it is. Definitely not “Here Comes A Regular,” which it resembles.

The problem with Westerberg solo is that nothing he does will possibly compare to the glory days of the ‘Mat’s. And it’s wrong to judge his solo work against it. But it can’t be helped. His use of language, sloppy-ass guitar style and tongue-filled cheek sound so much like his old band that the comparison exists in each song, which is so very frustrating. Glad he’s not becoming a hermit and all, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen to it.

Vagrant Records: http://www.vagrant.com

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