Thursday, August 2, 2007

Album Of The Week: Paul Westerberg's Folker (2004)

As a preface to this first Album of the Week, let it be known that my favorite kind of album is the kind that a reviewer might give a B instead of an A. There's something about these misunderstood underdogs that merit multiple listens for me, and these usually end up being my most cherished albums. Paul Westerberg's Folker (2004), is no exception to this rule. While critics gave this album fairly high reviews (most were just shocked he's still putting out decent albums), it pretty much seemed to slip right past most people. And hey -- I'm certainly no different than most people, in this regard: I'd probably never even heard of the Replacements back in 2004, much less Paul Westerberg. However, after falling hard for the Replacements' loud and brash and strangely melodic brand of rock and roll years after the band broke up (I guess I was about 2 or 3 years old at that point in time), Westerberg's music was the next best thing (and that's not to put the album down as second-rate, it's just that not many people top the Replacements in my book). The man's pop sensibilities have been evident (though obviously more subverted) all the way back to some of the band's earliest records, and on Folker, he's managed to craft the kind of classic-sounding rock album people just don't seem interested (or capable, maybe) of making anymore. There really isn't a bad song on the entire album (even those which have been written off as "filler" are insanely sing-a-long-able), which he recorded by himself in his basement in Minneapolis. There's something about the way Westerberg writes these folk-rock songs - he's a master at writing memorable choruses, remembering things with a wistful sadness that's still begrudgingly fond (see "My Dad"). I'd love more people to have the chance to listen to this album -- I'm so glad I found it.

"Looking Up In Heaven" [MP3]

Paul Westerberg's website

No comments: