Paul Westerberg’s ‘14 Songs’ (TMR 38)
The Replacements frontman delivers a master class in songwriting
Verse, chorus, bridge. The fundamental building blocks of songcraft are enough for the best musicians to work wonders over and over without ostentation. This is abundantly clear on 14 Songs (Sire/Reprise, 1993), the first solo album from Paul Westerberg of early alt-rockers The Replacements. Whereas creativity for many artists is an exercise in exploding traditional forms, Westerberg uses them in countless subtle variations, always compellingly. Track after after track is a mid-paced, mild rocker with minimal instrumentation — guitar, bass, drums and occasional doodads— yet not a thing is missing. It’s typically scruffy, as if Westerberg just crawled out of bed, plugged in and started playing, but the songwriting is immediately winsome: music with all its charm and little of the glamour.
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