Pleased To Meet Me
With their rawness stripped away and lead guitarist Bob Stinson fired, Pleased To Meet Me veers further away from The Replacements’ sound, but it still stands tall on the basis of Paul Westerberg’s wonderful songs and heartfelt vocals. Jim Dickinson, who also produced Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers, does a good job of tempering the group’s formerly messy sound and the production values of the mid eighties, and it feels as much classic rock as it does alternative. While Dickinson plasters on the occasional horn section or keyboard part, Pleased To Meet Me never loses the vigour of the three piece group nor the intimacy of Westerberg’s singer-songwriter inclinations.
‘Alex Chilton’ is a wonderful slice of power-pop (“I never travel far” declares Westerberg in the bridge, “Without a little Big Star”), capturing teenage fantasy and obsession about rock idols perfectly. ‘Red Red Wine’ is a raucous rock song, while ‘Skyway’ is a beautiful acoustic piece. Foreshadowing of Nirvana is arguably evident in ‘Never Mind’, as Westerberg screams himself hoarse in the title, and ‘The Ledge’ is an anguished study of suicide. Counterwise, the line “Jesus rides beside me” is ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ is a beautifully uplifting moment, with Alex Chilton himself providing some guitar work.
Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased To Meet Me is one of the best three album sequences made by anyone.