Let It Be is the third studio album from the American alternative rock band The Replacements, released in October 1984 on Twin/Tone Records. By 1983's Hootenanny, the band had grown tired of playing loud and fast exclusively and decided to write songs that were, according to singer Paul Westerberg, "a little more sincere." Influenced by genres as diverse as metal, Chicago blues and arena rock, Let It Be included more complex arrangements; instruments such as pianos, mandolins and twelve-string guitars feature throughout the album.
Although not a commercial success upon its release, Let It Be was critically acclaimed by various American music publications; The Village Voices Robert Christgau gave the album an A+ rating, and the Seattle Rocket critic Bruce Pavitt said Let It Be was "mature, diverse rock that could well shoot these regional boys into the national mainstream." The album is frequently included on professional lists of the all-time best rock albums; on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Let It Be ranks #239.
BackgroundThe Replacements started their career as a punk rock band, similar to their Minneapolis rivals Hüsker Dü. However, The Replacements had gradually disavowed the hardcore aspects of albums like Stink with their third album Hootenanny. By 1983 the band would perform a set of cover songs intended to antagonize whomever was in the crowd. Paul Westerberg explained that the punks who made up their audience "thought that's what they were supposed to be standing for, like 'Anybody does what they want' and 'There are no rules' [...] But there were rules and you couldn't do that, and you had to be fast, and you had to wear black, and you couldn't wear a plaid shirt with flares ... So we'd play the DeFranco Family, that kind of shit, just to piss 'em off."
Peter Buck of R.E.M. was originally rumored to produce the album. Buck later confirmed that the band did consider him as a possible producer, but when they met Buck in Athens, Georgia, the band did not have enough material. Buck did manage to contribute to the album in a limited capacity; he said, "I was kind of there for pre-production stuff, did one solo, gave 'em some ideas."
MusicLet It Be placed more of a focus on Westerberg's songwriting than previous albums. While elements of hardcore remain, the band's sound also incorporates arena rock, pop, jazz, heavy metal, honky-tonk country and Chicago blues. Unlike previous efforts, the individual songs have distinct sections and dynamic shifts. Instruments such as piano, lap steel guitar, 12-string guitar, and mandolin appear.
The album is divided by more energetic rock songs like "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out" and "Gary's Got a Boner" and more dramatic songs like "Sixteen Blue" and "Unsatisfied". R.E.M.'s Peter Buck contributed the guitar solo to Let It Bes first cut, "I Will Dare," which was released as a single prior to the album's release in July 1984.
LegacyLet It Be received critical acclaim upon its release. The album ranked fourth in the 1984 Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll. Although Let It Be was far from a commercial success, it is widely regarded by critics as one of the best albums of the 1980s. It is listed in All Music Guide with a five-star rating and is one of the few albums to receive an 'A+' from esteemed music critic Robert Christgau. In 1989, it was rated #15 on the same magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s. In the 1999 miniseries "VH1's 100 Greatest Albums of Rock and Roll," VH1 ranked Let It Be #79. Pitchfork Media rated the album at #29 on their 100 Best Albums of the 1980s.
In 2004 Continuum International Publishing Group published a volume in its 33⅓ series inspired by Let It Be. The book was a memoir written by Colin Meloy of indie pop band The Decemberists. In his book, Meloy wrote, "I listened to Let It Be endlessly. The record seemed to encapsulate perfectly all of the feelings that were churning inside me [...] Paul Westerberg's weary voice sounded from my boombox and I trembled to think that here I was, thirteen and the 'hardest age' was still three years in the making."
PackagingThe cover of Let It Be is a photograph of the band sitting on the roof of Bob and Tommy Stinson's mother's house taken by Daniel Corrigan. Michael Azerrad stated that the cover was a "great little piece of mythmaking," showcasing each bandmember's personality via how they appear in the photograph. The album's title is a reference to the 1970 album Let It Be by The Beatles; the reference was intended as a joke on the Replacements' manager, Peter Jesperson, who was a huge Beatles fan.
Track listingAll songs were written by Paul Westerberg, except where noted.
- "Unsatisfied" – 4:01
- "Seen Your Video" – 3:08
- "Gary's Got a Boner" (Westerberg, Stinson, Stinson, Mars, Ted Nugent) – 2:28
- "Sixteen Blue" – 4:24
- "Answering Machine" – 3:40
- Azerrad, Michael. Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981–1991. Little Brown and Company, 2001. ISBN 0-316-78753-1
unsatisfied in Russian: Let It Be (альбом The Replacements)
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