Paul Westerberg created hype for 49:00 by releasing it digitally for 49c, stating that 1c per minute was a fair price. 49:00 takes Westerberg’s unpolished approach to new extremes, releasing the album as a continuous track, with songs fading in and out of each other, simulating a radio tuning in and out of different stations. Despite this sound collage approach, 49:00 is one of Westerberg’s stronger solo efforts – it’s fun, and there are plenty of good songs here. The opening ‘Who You Gonna Marry?’ is charming and acoustic, ‘Outta My System’ is poppy and catchy, ‘Devil Raised a Good Boy’ is dirty and bluesy – between them they cover a lot of Westerberg’s usual musical territory.
Despite the title, the original album was only 43 minutes and 55 seconds long, and the final track, ‘5:05’ arrived a couple of weeks later, after Westerberg was forced to pull the original album for using brief snippets of classic rock staples like ‘Hello Goodbye’ and ‘Rocketman’; Westerberg sardonically notes “They got a lawsuit/I got a swimsuit,” before ending with a brief snippet of The Beatles’ ‘Oh Darling!’\
49:00 is one of Westerberg’s more ambitious projects on paper, but once you get past the unique format, it’s simply another strong album from him.