Come Feel Me Tremble
Following the artistic success of the Stereo/Mono set, Come Feel Me Tremble is more of the same from Paul Westerberg, another collection of sloppily home-recorded songs. It’s pitched halfway between those two albums, featuring both the driving bar rock of Mono and the sensitive acoustic songwriter of Stereo. As a result it’s less coherent than either, with obvious signs of looseness like a gorgeous fragment (‘Never Felt Like This Before’) that isn’t developed into a full song, and acoustic and electric version of the same song (‘Crackle & Drag’) back to back.
Come Feel Me Tremble is even, with no real missteps, but nothing outstanding; maybe the Sylvia Plath biograph ‘Crackle & Drag’, the hooky ‘What A Day (For A Night)’ and the plaintive, folk-inspired ‘Meet Me Down The Alley’ are the best songs. “I’m drinking once again/Just to make the pills kick in” from the aptly named ‘Knockin’ Em Back’ is the most confessional Westerberg lyric for quite some time, while a nice cover of Jackson Browne’s ‘These Days’ brings proceedings to a tender close.
For the first time in his career this feels like just another Westerberg record – albums like Don’t Tell A Soul and Eventually weren’t particularly exciting, but also they didn’t sound particularly like the records that preceded them. And even if Come Feel Me Tremble is in a more fitting style than either, and is stronger song for song, it’s just too routine to rank high among his albums.