Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Certain Songs #1850: The Replacements – “Careless” | Medialoper

Album: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out The Trash
Year: 1981

. . .

Irresponsibility’s my closest friend

You’d barely even caught your breath from Paul’s final scream of “takin a ride” when with a scream of “Yeaaaahhhh,” the somehow even more manic “Careless” comes blasting out of your speakers, muddy and near-incomprehensable and at :68 — the shortest song in their catalog — practically over before it began.

“Don’t worry, we’re thinking about taking lessons,” Paul cracked wise about “Careless” in the hilarious liner notes to Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash, but that ignored a shitload of great things about, “Careless,” which traveled down the Chuck Berry highway at motorvatin’ speeds, making all of those 50-cent words Paul Westerberg spat out in the opening verse even more impressive.

Irresponsibility’s my closest friend
Forget my duty, obligation
Tell me about the city ordinance
Tell me that we’re insubordinate

I mean, rhyming “ordinance” and “insubordinate”?? Come on. That’s just awesome.

Also awesome: Bob Stinson’s guitar singing harmony on the first line of the chorus, “plan tomorrow / money to borrow”, which is blink-and-you’ll miss it because of how hard they’re all hitting it.

I’m careless, careless
Couldn’t care less, careless
I’m careless, careless
That’s the way I stay

But of course, he couldn’t leave well enough alone, and in fact, Bob Stinson would often do at least one weird, fucked-up thing in just about every ‘mats song, almost to overshadow — or possibly undercut — the awesome shit he was otherwise doing. In “Careless,” that fucked-up things comes at after Paul screams “stay” a couple of times after the second chorus, a series of notes that are all clearly surprised to even exist in this context but are almost instantly killed by the next one.

In any event, the opening 1-2 punch of “Takin’ a Ride” and “Careless” set the stage for the rest of Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash — great songs, smart words, unique guitar, indifferent recording. Which is why I have probably always undervalued it: a lot of songs just kinda got lost. Kinda like what happened later on with Don’t Tell A Soul, but in the opposite direction.


“Careless” live at 7th St. Entry, 1981

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