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Great B-sides: If Only You Were Lonely by The Replacements

The Replacements Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash

The Replacements started as a bratty punk band, but as the 1980s wore on they lost their rough edges. They signed to a major label and shot for mainstream success. Their best years are generally reckoned to be the mid 1980s, as they stretched from the hardcore punk bandwagon they jumped onto at the start of their career.

On 1984’s artistic breakthrough, Let It Be, the immature charm of ‘Gary’s Got A Boner’ shared space with leader Paul Westerberg’s heartfelt efforts like ‘Sixteen Blue’, showing that Westerberg was an outstanding songwriter when he wasn’t playing drunken slacker.

But even in The Replacements’ early years of imitating punk orthodoxy there were traces of vulnerability from Westerberg. ‘Johnny’s Gonna Die’ was a heartfelt plea to Westerberg’s idol, Heartbreakers’ guitarist Johnny Thunders, a standout track on 1981’s debut Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash. The countrified ‘If Only You Were Lonely’, however, was pushed out to a b-side – it was probably too much of a departure from punk to fit on the album itself, even if its heartfelt humour is a great encapsulation of Paul Westerberg’s writing talents.

Best line?

Twenty push-ups this morning, that was half my goal
Tonight I’ll be doin’ pull-ups
On the toilet bowl

Paul Westerberg

Well, I walked out of work
And I was tired as hell
Another day’s come and gone and oh well
Somewhere there’s a drink with my name on it

Well, I ordered a Scotch as I bust through them doors
Spilled half on my jeans
The other half on the floor
When I saw you standing by that video game  

Well, I ain’t very good
But I get practice by myself
Forgot my one line
So I just said what I felt

If only you were lonely,
If only you was lonely too,
If only you was lonely
I’d go home with you

Twenty push-ups this morning, that was half my goal
Tonight I’ll be doin’ pull-ups
On the toilet bowl
And somewhere somebody’s throwin’ up

Well, I broke the seal on my door
And I poured myself to bed
The whirlpool spinning around in my head
Around in my head

There was liquor on my breath
And you were on my mind
And I’ll be dreamin’ of that smile
Without a care in the world

If only you were lonely,
If only you was lonely too,
If only you was lonely

I walked out of the kitchen I was tired as hell
Another day’s here and oh well
Somewhere there’s a smile with my name on it.

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